European rural landscapes have a huge cultural, social and ecological importance. These landscapes now confront many challenges resulting from the synergistic effects of global change, acceleration of human population growth and its development. Some rural landscapes of
irreversible changes (even disappeared) and their societies urbanized long time
ago. Other rural landscapes are apparently 'frozen' in ancient times (e.g. such
are those from Romania, Eastern Europe) and visiting them is a glimpse in the
deep roots of the modern European civilization.
Wood-pastures certainly connect the present with the past, since sometimes they have ancient origins. Passing through an ancient wood-pasture is also a time travel which would not leave you indifferent: What is the history of these old trees? What types of institutions made and maintained them through centuries? How important are they for biodiversity? What is their actual cultural importance? Would these century old trees survive the next few decades? These are just few questions you may ask while looking at them, and given the whole context of drastic and apparently chaotic changes which we witness today at societal level, we may found ourselves lucky to see these ancient trees in their traditional landscape setting.
No matter where we are in
Europe, one thing about
wood-pastures seems to be evident: they were made and maintained by people and
their dependence on us is increasingly obvious. And we still need to understand
them. The scientific evidences about the cultural and ecological importance of
European wood-pastures are still scarce, and so are the initiatives to
inventory describe and protect them at wider, regional or country level.
The Europe Section of the Society for Conservation Biology intends to highlight the importance and the current status of wood pastures in various parts of
Europe and also the current challenges these habitats are
In order to achieve this, we invited people from various parts of
Europe which conduct research on wood-pastures to
contribute to the blog of the Society with description of their main findings and also reflections about the
future of the wood pastures from their working regions.
With the handful of writings about European wood-pastures, we would like to acknowledge the ecological and cultural legacy of these internationally important, beautiful and increasingly threatened landscape elements.
We thank to the contributors for making this thematic issue possible.
Society for Conservation Biology –
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org