Building landscape memory through combined sources: commons afforestation in Portugal


  • A.I. Queiroz


Mountain landscapes have changed drastically during the 20th century. The knowledge of changing patterns and processes is currently considered a key element for conservation and management. This integrative study combines different data sources, methodologies and representations that contribute to the history of common property land in Leomil highlands (Beira Alta, Portugal). The evaluated material of environmental history includes old maps, recent land-use maps, non-published technical reports, official statistics from the 1950s up to now and writings of a wellknown Portuguese writer (Aquilino Ribeiro, 1885-1963). The novel When the Wolves Howl (original title Quando os lobos uivam, Ribeiro 1958) illustrates processes, meanings and thoughts, both from the local people and the writer, about the appropriation of the commons and the 1950s pine-tree afforestation. The paper analyses socio-economic implications and landscape dynamics, identifying the main driving forces of landscape change and the resulting patterns. It discusses the implications of this new understanding for future management and sustainable development