While there are a number of studies and projects concentrating on designed historic landscapes, vernacular cultural landscapes, created through traditional agricultural practices, receive considerably less attention. Nevertheless, these landscapes represent irreplaceable values – historical, ecological and aesthetic - and they are excellent examples of sustainable agricultural systems.
In present-day Europe, vernacular historic landscapes are rapidly disappearing. This is due partly to accelerating changes in agricultural and land-ownership patterns and partly to the challenges in preservation of these landscapes, including the multi disciplinary nature of this field, as well as the need to devise new methods of determining the significant features of these landscapes, which play a key part in their conservation.
Our research team, in co-operation with other institutions, is currently focusing on the dynamics of vernacular historic landscapes and the factors behind their disappearance; the possibilities of dating these landscapes using non-destructive archaeological methods; the visual qualities of these landscapes, as perceived by different users of these landscapes; the role of specific features of these landscapes in erosion control and water retention; and the possibilities for ecologically, socially and economically sustainable use of these landscapes, including eco-tourism.
Applied outcomes of the research and further potential applications of the research:
- Methodology for assessing the visual impact of proposed construction, activities or land use changes on landscape character.
- Sets of thematic maps showing distribution and typology of vernacular historic landscapes in the Czech Republic
- Approximately 80 projects and studies – land consolidation projects, master plans, etc. Baseline data for subsidy policies in historic landscape preservation, agriculture and environment (national and EU)
- Methodological tools for landscape planning and tourism management, which could be used by planners and state and local authorities
- Educational and advisory materials for the public, farmers and state and local authorities
landscape planning; features of landscapes; agriculture; environment