The abandonment of agricultural land leads to landscape changes in many parts of Europe, often followed by natural forest regrowth. The interdisciplinary research project SPONFOREST focuses on these landscape changes, which have far-reaching social and ecological consequences. Managing land use changes requires a better understanding of societal perceptions, which is addressed in a new publication by four EFI researchers - Theresa Frei, Jakob Derks, Carmen Rodríguez Fernández-Blanco and Georg Winkel.
Their research analyses how local actor groups involved in land management perceive natural forest regrowth on abandoned land. The article finds that natural forest regrowth holds different symbolic functions for actor groups, ranging from lost territory to recovered land. Furthermore, it finds that there is common ground regarding the management of natural forest regrowth. The results show that cultural beliefs of actors and site-specific contexts are key for management approaches addressing natural forest regrowth.
Frei T, Derks J, Rodríguez Fernández-Blanco C, Winkel G (2020) Narrating abandoned land: perceptions of natural forest regrowth in Southwestern Europe. Land Use Policy 99:105034. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105034