Memory carriers and stewardship of metropolitan landscapes

Author(s): Andersson, E., Barthel
In: Ecological Indicators, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.030
Year: 2016
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Andersson, Erik, Barthel, Stephan
Full reference: Andersson, E., Barthel. S. 2016. Memory carriers and stewardship of metropolitan landscapes. Ecological Indicators, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.030. Available online 24 February 2016


History matters, and can be an active and dynamic component in the present. We explore social-ecological memory as way to diagnose and engage with urban green space performance and resilience. Rapidly changing cities pose a threat and a challenge to the continuity that has helped to support biodiversity and ecological functions by upholding similar or only slowly changing adaptive cycles over time. Continuity is perpetuated through memory carriers, slowly changing variables and features that retain or make available information on how different situations have been dealt with before. Ecological memory carriers comprise memory banks, spatial connections and mobile link species. These can be supported by social memory carriers, represented by collectively created social features like habits, oral tradition, rules-in-use and artifacts, as well as media and external sources. Loss or lack of memory can be diagnoses by the absence or disconnect between memory carriers, as will be illustrated by several typical situations. Drawing on a set of example situations, we present an outline for a look-up table approach that connects ecological memory carriers to the social memory carriers that support them and use these connections to set diagnoses and indicate potential remedies. The inclusion of memory carriers in planning and management considerations may facilitate preservation of feedbacks and disturbance regimes as well as species and habitats, and the cultural values and meanings that go with them.

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