1000 years of sustainable grazing in Nordic conditions? what can be learned

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Sustainability, e.g. as expressed in the Faeroes concept “skipan”, has been widely used in the Nordic countries as regulation of sustainable land use since the Viking age. Even land property rights have historically been currently adapted to the need for a sustainable use and management of varied landscapes at different spatial levels. Information on much of this sort of regulation has however been lost through modern times, tended to prefer modern (nature) scientific methods primarily developed as general (meaning not spatially contextual) recommendations for raising productivity. During the later years this modern tradition has also been preferred by investigations to find solutions for non-sustainable types of land use in grazing systems.
However, much sustainability-relevant wisdom has been accumulated in historical grazing-systems that should be included in the repertoire of knowledge to be mobilized in the endeavor to succeed a necessary transformation towards sustainable land use in the future. This is especially relevant since this historical wisdom was often based on a conscious holistic framework for a long-sighted optimal use of grazing potentials under shifting economic conditions, in practice linking detailed contextualized accumulated knowledge on nature processes at landscape level with constant social conflict regulations at a local and regional level. Often it worked, but in some situations (e.g. with marked changes in social or economic conditions, or by changing climatic conditions) it did not. Based on many years of studying the landscape and ecological and social conditions of the Faroese grazing system since the first Faeroese law  the Sheep Letter from 1298  I have tried to derive some lessons concerning possibilities and limitations in the use of historical knowledge on the Faeroese grazing systems. I cover the interpretation of their historical sustainability, but also give a modern interpretation of general conditions for future sustainable land use, both concerning the ecological functionality of the landscape and its use, and of the social conditions necessary to ensure a holistic management of the land use system.
Publikationsdato12 sep. 2016
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 12 sep. 2016
BegivenhedGrazing in a changing Nordic region - Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, Reykjavik, Island
Varighed: 12 sep. 201615 sep. 2016


KonferenceGrazing in a changing Nordic region
LokationIcelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura

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