Conserving European Mountain Habitats: What Can Their Past Tell Us About Their Future?
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R. A. Dodgshon & E. G. A. Olsson
Conserving European mountain habitats: what can their past tell us about their future? R. A. ~ o d ~ s h o n ' & E. G. A. 01sson2 I Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, UK 2 Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Technology, Trondheim, Norway Abstract This paper looks at the strategies needed for the conservation and sustainable use of some of Europe's most fragile ecosystems: mountain habitats. Despite their appearance as wildscape, many traditional mountain ecosystems are semi-natural habitats whose character has been shaped by past forms of land use management. In some cases, this symbiosis has evolved over many centuries, even millennia, giving a deceptive natural stability to the ecosystems involved. However, as mountain areas across Europe have been drawn into more specialised forms of farm production, the progressive abandonment of traditional husbandry practices, including range grazing by livestock, has led to a reduction and fragmentation of those e