Petr Kuneš


Human impact and conservation

Central Europe’s vegetation is under continuous human pressure for at least eight millennia, resulting in the forests’ gradual transformation into today’s agricultural landscape. However, there has been more to this landscape change than the simple disappearance of woodland. Forests have been influenced by environmental changes and various traditional and recent management regimes, which profoundly altered their structure and species composition. Today’s pressing issues include questions about the forests’ naturalness and calls for proper management and future conservation.

We addressed these questions in the five-year ERC LONGWOOD project led by Péter Szabó, which for the first time, combined approaches of vegetation science, history, archaeology, palaeoecology, and historical geography.

Our outputs bring new perspectives for nature conservation, suggesting focusing more on the ecosystems’ long-term dynamics.