Foundations for the Future: Learning from the Past, 2007-2010



<p><p></p><p>This is a mixed method data collection. The study is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme.<br>
<br>The uplands supply a wide range of ecosystem services and are home to many high conservation-value species and habitats. Striking a balance between these various demands and providing rural communities with sustainable livelihoods requires a secure understanding of how these ecosystems function and respond to change. This project demonstrated that understanding people-landscape interactions over the past 300-500 years is vital to the creation of sustainable management plans. This was achieved by combining environmental archaeology/history techniques for understanding past environmental and land-use changes, with social science methods of engagement and evaluation to bring these long timescale narratives into planning frameworks. The main objective of the project was to explore how longer-term (>decadal) evidence can be incorporated into decision-making in the UK uplands to ensure that we use the benefits of hindsight. The broader aim was to ensure that short-term monitoring systems and goals will support the longer-term processes that underpin ecosystem function and values. As it is difficult to put monetary values on heritage, biodiversity or knowledge, interview techniques developed by economists were used to assess how information from the past influences people's values regarding landscape change, particularly relative to current management strategies. The work focused on heathland, which is the most extensive UK upland habitat, and was conducted in the Peak District (England) and Sutherland (Northern Scotland).<br>
<br>This data collection includes the results from four interlinked projects combining quantitative and qualitative evidence to assess long-term ecological data at local to national levels:<br>
</p><ul><li>Project 1 synthesises existing information on historical environmental changes in the uplands with relevance to current management and policy<br>
</li><li>Project 2 used high resolution palaeoenvironmental analyses to reconstruct ecological changes and land-use histories of four contrasting moorland systems in the Peak District (England) over the last c.200-1300 yrs. Sites were selected in consultation with stakeholders and the results provide the basis for comparison with ecological survey results and knowledge of current managers.<br>
</li><li>Project 3 used similar methods to reconstruct ecological and land-use changes in NW Sutherland (Scotland) over the last c.400 yrs. Site selection was based on discussion with stakeholders and results were compared with stakeholder knowledge and preferences for landscape change.<br>
</li><li>Project 4 used three choice experiments to assess the response of different communities to long-term evidence as a potential source of information to inform preferences for upland management.<br>
</li><li>Project 4a used a choice experiment to assess the influence of long-term evidence on management preferences of residents of the Peak District.<br>
</li><li>Project 4b used choice experiments to present long-term evidence to ecologists from government, NGO, research and practitioner communities in conjunction with established sources of ecological evidence used in upland management (ecological monitoring and ecological research) and with stakeholder preferences for upland management, since this is increasingly becoming embedded in decision-making. The upland woods and peatlands were used as the contexts for two choice experiments. A pilot study was conducted to refine the data and design for the final version.</li></ul><br>The palaeoecology data from this study will be made available from the <a href=""></a>Environmental Information Data Centre of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.<br>
<br>Further information for this study may be found through the <a href="" target="_blank">ESRC Research Catalogue webpage: Foundations for the future: learning from the past.</a><a href="" target="_blank" style=""></a><a href="" target="_blank" style=""></a><a href=""></a><br>
Date made available2019
PublisherUK Data Service

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