Integrating physical and human dynamics in landscape trajectories: exemplified at the Aulnages watershed (Québec, Canada)
AbstractWith the increasing complexity of landscape issues and a paradigm shift towards holistic approaches, there is a crucial need to understand both the human and physical dynamics of landscapes and their interactions. From a holistic perspective, the landscape can be viewed as the combined result of dynamic interactions between land and individual. Based on this view of the landscape, this paper develops an approach based on the concept of landscape trajectory. Landscape trajectory is proposed as an intrinsic landscape characteristic, describing the nature of the interactions between physical and human dynamics. It recognizes three types of landscape trajectories: (i) the landscape trajectory that is characterized by complementary interactions between physical and human dynamics, (ii) the landscape trajectory that is characterized by a directional change in physical and/or human dynamics, which leads to conflicting interactions, and (iii) the landscape trajectory that is characterized by a separation in physical and/or human dynamics, which also leads to conflicting interactions. These trajectories are illustrated by the case of areas of intensive agricultural use and a preliminary application in the Aulnages watershed (Québec, Canada). Indeed, areas of intensive agricultural use constitute one example of a directional change of human dynamics toward industrialized agriculture that has led to new land structures, adapted to the demands of new agricultural practices. Because of changing values, uses, behaviours and perceptions, these areas are now subject to a separation within the human dynamics. This new context requires ways to modify landscape trajectories in order to be able to respond to the different uses and needs of inhabitants. To address this question, a better understanding of past and current landscape trajectories is required. However, such a holistic approach raises important issues at the operational level. Six are discussed in this paper: the use of a multi- or interdisciplinary approach, the choice of appropriate methods to study each dimension, the establishment of a dialogue between the different methods selected, the order of the dimensions studied, the choice of appropriate spatial scales and, finally, the combination of multiple temporal scales
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