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Lecture 4: The concept of landscape Outline: Landscape character: nature and people Perception: evaluation and assessment Policy development Seminar: video presentation “A postcard from the Country – The Highlands of Scotland: in search of wilderness”

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Lecture 4 the concept of landscape l.jpg

Lecture 4: The concept of landscape

Outline:

  • Landscape character: nature and people

  • Perception: evaluation and assessment

  • Policy development

  • Seminar: video presentation “A postcard from the Country – The Highlands of Scotland: in search of wilderness”

GEOG3320 Management of Wilderness Environments


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Question:What do we mean by “landscape”?

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What is landscape?

  • Some uses of the word…

    • an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view

    • painting depicting an expanse of natural scenery

    • embellishment with plants, rocks, etc.

    • a genre of art dealing with the depiction of natural scenery

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Question:How has art shaped our view of wild landscapes

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Ante Mortem by Syd Scroggie

I will attempt the Capel track

Old, stiff and retrograde

And get some pal to shove me on

Should resolution fade

For I must see black Meikle Pap

Against a starry sky

And watch the dawn from Lochnagar

Once more before I die.

The golden plover whistled there

Before the Fall of Man

And you can hear the brittle croak

Of lonely ptarmigan,

No heather there but boulders bare

and quartz and granite grit

and ribs of snow bleak, old and grey

As I remember it.

And if I do not make the top

Then sit me on a stone

Some lichen'd rock amongst the screes

And leave me there alone,

Yes leave me there alone to hear

Where spout and buttress are

The breeze that stirs the little loch

On silent Lochnagar.

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Away ye grey landscapes, ye gardens o' rosesIn you let the minions of luxury roveAnd restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposesIf still they are sacred to freedom and loveBrave Caledonia, dear are thy mountainsRound their white summits though elements warThough cataracts roar 'stead of smooth-flowing fountainsI sigh for the valley o' dark Lochnagar

Lord Byron, Dark Lochnagar

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1. Landscape character: nature and people

  • Landscape is more than just a backdrop to our lives

    • source of invaluable economic and spiritual resources

    • a historic record of human activity

    • helps us define our sense of who we are

  • Landscape character is defined as

    • “a distinct, recognisable and consistent pattern of elements in the landscape that makes one landscape different from another, rather than better or worse” (Countryside Agency)

    • it is that which makes an area unique

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1. Landscape character: nature and people (cont’d)

  • Components of landscape

    • Biophysical

      • terrain (relief, variability, geomorphology, etc.)

      • water inc. snow & ice (presence, type, quality)

      • flora and fauna (variety, condition, etc.)

    • Socio-psychological

      • land use inc. urban (type, extent, modification)

      • transport (accessibility, intrusion)

      • other human features (powerlines, dams, etc.)

      • cultural (presence, type)

      • people (numbers, activities, behaviour, etc.)

      • mystery

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Question: what is special about wild landscapes?

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment

“Scenery is a natural resource...

[to determine which landscapes are of high quality and deserve attention by resource managers, it is essential...] to attempt the evaluation of scenic resources in some objective and quantitative fashion”(Linton, 1968, p.219)

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“Landscape is the work of the mind …it scenery is built up as much from the strata of memory as from layers of rock.”

(Simon Schama)

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

“Beauty cannot be described: therefore

it Cannot be defined... measured... [or] made

the basis of a science”(Kates, 1967, p.22)

“It’s about time that environmentalists supported their arguments... [about landscape aesthetics] with numbers”(Leopold, 1969, p.41)

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • What’s in a view?

  • What can be seen from where is a key component of landscape analysis

    • depends strongly on terrain variables

    • can be quantified using visibility analysis

      • what, how much and what quality?

      • use Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • Case study: wildland in Scotland

    • The uplands and coasts are highly valued hallmarks of Scotland’s landscape

      • spectacular and distinctive scenery

      • wildlife of high conservation importance

      • major focus for outdoor recreation

      • Remote and natural areas now widely referred to as ‘wild land’

    • Subject to steady attrition due to various types of development

      • including hydropower schemes, afforestation and the construction of bulldozed tracks

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • A brief history

    • Gaelic history, culture and society

      • warring clans and bashing the “Sassenach”

      • Robert de Bruce, William Wallace, Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, etc.

      • the C18/19th “Clearances” and subsequent oppression by the “English”

      • focus on the Highlands and Islands

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • Significance of tourism and media

    • Scotland as a Victorian “invention”

      • Tartan and the Kilt

      • Sporting estates

    • C19th Romanticism - paintings and poetry of Scott, Byron, Landseer, Burns, etc.

    • an image transplanted into global folklore

    • perpetuated in promoting modern tourism and Hollywood versions of history (e.g. Braveheart and Rob Roy)

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • Perception of wild Scotland

    • Conflicting images of the Highlands:

      • Wild and untamed landscape

      • Steeped in history, heroism and romance

      • The land as “Emptied… not empty”

    • Current patterns of wild land

      • Remoteness, rugged terrain, harsh climate, sparse population (historic)

      • Mapped using GIS methods

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2. Perception: evaluation and assessment (cont’d)

  • Wild land mapping

    • Wilderness Continuum Concept

      • Remoteness from population and access

      • Naturalness of vegetation and lack of human artefacts (Lesslie and Maslen, 1995)

    • GIS methods

      • Multi-criteria evaluation (Carver & Fritz, 1998)

      • Fuzzy modelling (Fritz et al., 2000)

      • Public participation GIS (Carver et al., 2002)

      • Historic trends (Carver and Wrightham, 2004)

      • Perception surveys (Carver et al., 2005)

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3. Policy development

  • Defining wilderness landscapes

    • important step in developing policy for protection

    • Wilderness often defined in terms of human values of ‘wildness’ attributed to particular places or landscapes.

      • US Wilderness Act (1964)

      • Finnish Wilderness Act (1991)

      • Scottish Natural Heritage (2002)

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • Wilderness as a human concept

    • wilderness is:

      • An idea… an ideal

      • NOT discrete or objective… i.e. a ‘fuzzy’ concept

      • A place that exists in the mind as much as it does on a map!

    • dependent on individual perception, social and cultural background, and personal experience…

      “One man’s wilderness is another’s roadside picnic ground.”(Nash, 1982)

    • champions of the wild: the main actors

      • NTS, JMT and SNH

      • Scottish Wildland Group

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • Wildland policy in Scotland

    “Uninhabited and often relatively inaccessible countryside where the influence of human activity on the character and quality of the environment has been minimal.”(NPPG 14, 1998)

    “There are parts of Scotland where the wild character of the landscape, its related recreational value and potential for nature are such that these areas should be safeguarded against inappropriate development or land-use change.”(SNH, July 2002)http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/polstat/pd-wsc.pdf

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • The National Trust fro Scotland

  • Founded 1931

    • guardian of the nation's architectural, scenic and historic treasures

    • 270,000 members

    • 128 properties including

      • Torridon (15,908a)

      • Kintail and Morvich (18,362a)

      • West Affric (9,049a)

      • Mar Lodge estate, Cairngorm (72,598a)

      • Glencoe and Dalness (12,800a)

      • And several remote western isles

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • NTS Wildland Policy statement:

    “Wild land in Scotland is relatively remote and inaccessible, not noticeably affected by contemporary human activity, and offers high-quality opportunities to escape from the pressures of everyday living and find physical and spiritual refreshment… The primary purpose will be to identify, protect and enhance the ‘core wild land’ areas of Scotland.”

    (NTS, January 2002)

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • The Unna Principles:

    “…the land (should) be maintained in its primitive condition for all time with unrestricted access to the public.”(Percy Unna, November 1937)

    “The general principle of management is to avoid any reduction in wild land quality.” (NTS, January 2002)

    • the hills should not be made easier or safer to climb.

    • no facilitiesshould be introduced for mechanical transport; that paths should not be extended or improved; and that new paths should not be made.

    • no directional or other signs, whether signposts, paint marks, cairns, or of any other kind whatsoever, should be allowed.

    • no other facilities should be afforded for obtaining lodging, shelter, food or drink; and, especially, that no shelters of any kind be built on the hills.

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • The John Muir Trust

  • Formed in 1983 “to protect and conserve wild places and to increase awareness and understanding of the value of such places.”

    • Works closely with local communities.

    • Believes that sustainable conservation can only be achieved by recognising special qualities of wild places and understanding the human factors and other aspects which contribute to the landscape we think of - and value - as wild.

    • Developed a concordat with SNH on care of wild places in Scotland

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JMT properties:

  • Sandwood Bay

  • Torrin (5,498a)

  • Strathaird (16,062a)

  • Sconser (8,401a)

  • Ben Nevis (4,158a)

  • Li & Coire Dhorrcail

  • Schiehallion (2,310a)

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • Aims of the JMT

    • to conserve wild places and their landscapes, both for their own sake and for the sustenance and inspiration they give to humanity;

    • to protect existing wild places so as to conserve their natural processes, and their indigenous animals, plants and soils;

    • to renew wild places, where they have been damaged, by encouraging natural processes;

    • to work with local communities and to encourage them to live in harmony with wild places;

    • to promote an awareness and understanding of wild places for their own sake and for their value to the benefit of humanity;

    • to stimulate public support to help protect wild places;

    • to encourage voluntary participation in the conservation and renewal of wild places. http://www.jmt.org/policy/index.html

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • A Declaration for the wild

    • The UK and devolved governments must actively demonstrate that they recognise the importance of large areas of wild land and of all wild places as an integral part of our national culture and heritage by:

      • Encouraging andsupporting people of all ages and of all backgrounds to experience and understand the value of wild places, for the benefit of their health and spiritual well being.

      • Supporting local communities and land managers by developing a new, broader range of grants and incentive schemes to help restore and enhance wild land.

      • Reviewing planning policy and legislation to strengthen the protection and enhancement of wild land.

      • Establishing a forum to agree a national strategy for the appropriate siting of renewable energy developments.

      • Ratifying the Council of Europe’s Landscape Convention and embracing the responsibility to protect our national landscape heritage. http://www.jmt.org/policy/declare.html

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • JMT/SNH concordat

  • Working together to care for the wild places in Scotland through shared aims

    • Framework Agreement with SNH to broaden and strengthen JMTs ability to care for Wild Land in Scotland

“JMT recognises and supports the role of SNH in the conservation and enhancement Scotland's natural heritage and wishes to work closely with SNH for the furtherance of common aims.”

“SNH recognises and supports the holistic approach of JMT in securing a long-term future of Scotland's wild places and wishes to work closely with JMT for the furtherance of common aims.”

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Enhancers

Sense of remoteness

Size of area and scale of landscape

Scenic grandeur

Surrounded by sea (islands)

Solitude

Roughness of terrain, harsh climate

Peacefulness, quietness

Absence of contemporary human activity or development

Seemingly natural environment

Evokes emotionalexperience whether first hand or at a distance

Absence of re-assurance in a hazardous and challenging environment

Physically demanding experience resulting in a sense of achievement

Ruins and disused structures – where they add scale and fit the landscape

Detractors

Recent signs of human activity, particularly ‘man in charge of nature’ including intensive agriculture and insensitive forestry

Recent human artefacts (including litter)

Presence of crowds or group activity

Unsympathetic recreation activities

Man-made noise

Facilities to make recreation easier or safer

Ecological imbalance

Visual intrusions e.g. roads, pylons, fences

Mechanical transport

Low flying jets & helicopters

3. Policy development (cont’d)

(After NTS, 2002)http://www.nts.org.uk/web/FILES/wild_land_policy_2002.pdf

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

(After SNH, July 2002)http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/polstat/pd-wsc.pdf

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3. Policy development (cont’d)

  • Drivers of changing land use patterns

    • Reduction in domestic stocking densities

      • Sheep and cattle numbers falling (Subsidies)

      • Red deer numbers artificially maintained at high level (Estate management)

    • Increasing emphasis on sporting estates and changing access methods:

      • from foot and horseback to 4WD

      • leading to bulldozed hill tracks

    • Exploitation of hydropower resource (dams, reservoirs and power lines)

      • flooding valleys

      • changing access arrangements

    • New threat from wind farm proposals?

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Summary

  • Landscapes: mental image vs physical

  • Landscape character and perception

    • Human and physical geography

  • Wildland policy in Scotland

    • SNH, NTS and JMT

    • What about England and Wales?

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Reading

Bell, S (1999) Landscape: pattern, perception and process. Spon, London.

Gaddis, L (2004) The landscape of history: how historians map the past. OUP.

McCarthy, J (2004) An inhabited solitude: Scotland, land and people. Luath Press, Edinburgh.

Mitchell, I (1988) Scotland’s mountains before the mountaineers. Luath Press, Edinburgh.

Wildland policies for Scotland (see web links for SNH, NTS and JMT policies under “Tasks”)

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Task

  • Read policy documents for wildland in Scotland:

    • SNH

      • http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/polstat/pd-wsc.pdf

    • NTS

      • http://www.nts.org.uk/web/FILES/wild_land_policy_2002.pdf

    • JMT

      • http://www.jmt.org/policy/JMT_wildland.html

  • Think about how these might be extended or adapted for England and Wales

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Workshop:

Video presentation:

Postcard from the country

The Scottish Highlands:

In search of wilderness

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Next week...

5. Recreational use of wilderness and wildland

  • Wilderness recreation and benefits

  • Economics and development

  • Management of recreational use

  • Workshop: developing a wildland policy for England and Wales

GEOG3320 Management of Wilderness Environments


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