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Success in preserving historic rural landscapes under various policy measures: Incentives, restrictions or planning?

Environmental Science & Policy

Abstract

Historic rural landscapes are valuable not only as artefacts and as cultural heritage, but also as natural sites with great scenic qualities. Unfortunately, the total area of these landscapes was dramatically reduced in the course of the second half of the 20th century. In our study, we focus on the development of 38 fragments of medieval hedgerow-defined field patterns in Czechia referred to aspluzina, in an attempt to reveal significant determinants of their persistence or disappearance between 1996 and 2016. Using patch-scale spatial data generated from GIS, mixed-effect modelling was performed to test for the effects of five local drivers and their first-order interactions in explaining the variation of the preservation rate of these features. The study reveals a trend towards a slight decrease in the total area of these valuable field patterns. However, the trends vary greatly from area to area. This reflects not only the influence of natural determinants but also a significant effect of land-use policy measures in individual areas over the study period. Our findings confirm that land-use planning measures are the most important factor: grassland is more likely to be preserved, while cropland tends to lead to a reduction in or destruction of valuable patterns. The second most powerful factor was land tenure security. While areas of historic structures managed predominantly by owner-operators were able to grow in size over the period of our study, areas managed by tenant-operators were reduced in size. Legal restrictions in the area of nature conservation were another statistically significant driver and determinant that had a positive effect on the preservation of historic landscapes. It has also been shown that pluzina landscapes are more likely to be preserved or enlarged in less fertile areas. In conclusion, our findings have confirmed the crucial effect of individual land-use policy measures on individual sites, where appropriately chosen measures, such as sensitive planning, restrictions and incentives, were the principal drivers of the preservation of rural landscapes.

Author(s): Sklenicka, P; Kottova, B; Salek, M

Journal: Environmental Science & Policy

Year: 2017

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