The quest for the perfect model: Pre World War 1. Military land use modeling of the Greater Copenhagen area

Stig Roar Svenningsen, Jesper Brandt, Andreas Aagaard Christensen

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning


Anthropogenic land use practices are the single most important factor in the changing European landscapes. Respectively much attention has been devoted within Landscape Ecology to analyze changing patterns of land use and develop research strategies to understand the processes behind these changes and to inform policy makers. Models are used as an important tool in this research partly due to the revolution in information technologies during the last 30 years, which has made modeling more widespread in the research community. However modeling human decision making in form of land use practices are a demanding task, which are always challenge by reality. However this is not solely a modern phenomenon and in this paper we are to explore the experience of the efforts of the Danish military to develop a land use model. In the end of the 19th century the Danish military realized, that they had a problem. The landscape surrounding the fortress of Copenhagen was to flat and didn’t have enough fix point in form of landscape element to have a proper control of artillery fire from the batteries on the fortification. To fix this problem, the Danish military planned a comprehensive survey of the agricultural landscape around Copenhagen in year 1900, with the purpose of developing a model able of predict agricultural land use to be used as to direct and control artillery systems in the fortress of surrounding the land side of Copenhagen. The Artillery Command stated; “that the field system and rotational schemes around Copenhagen is so stable that agricultural data could be used for directing artillery fire.” The plan was to map every field within a five kilometer in the front of the fortification in order to create a very detailed map in 1:10.000 complete with field boundaries, as well as register information about the rotational system. At first the survey campaign seems to be going very well, but relative quickly did the military run into problems. The rapid urbanization of the landscape north of Copenhagen meant, that farming did not take place and at the island of Amager southwest of Copenhagen the farmers didn’t use any fix rotational scheme because of the supply of fertilizer from the city of Copenhagen. Also the social and economical system was supposed to constant by the military surveyors. Modeling and understanding of the processes in the landscapes has developed tremendously since year 1900, but the story is a good reminder about potential pitfalls of modeling with a simplistic of static understanding of human processes in the landscape.
StatusUdgivet - 2013
BegivenhedIALE Europe Congress: Changing European Landscapes - Manchester, Storbritannien
Varighed: 9 sep. 201312 sep. 2013


KonferenceIALE Europe Congress

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