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Hedges and hedgerows: traditional elements of the rural landscape in the Iberian Peninsula

Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes

Abstract

Hedgerows are typical elements of the rural landscape throughout the Iberian Peninsula. This system of land enclosure has traditionally been used as an alternative to dry stone walls, etc. Over the millennia, human actions in the rural environment have given rise to a mosaic landscape in which fences, hedges and hedgerows form what ecologists term a structural network. According to Fernando González Bernáldez, this network provides clues regarding the type of trees that were present before the purposeful and organized transformation of the landscape by Man.1 Woody hedges are the remains of the original tree cover that was cut down to clear land for agriculture and stock-raising. However, those who felled these trees also made a careful selection of the plants best suited for making hedges, the most important of which were thorny shrubs — species that provided protection to crops and reduced the likelihood of attacks on livestock by predators.

Author(s): Ramon-Laca, L

Journal: Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes

Year: 2015

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