Agri­cul­tural land­scape of south­ern Oland

Tehran Times - - HERITAGE & TOURISM -

The south­ern part of Oland, an is­land in the Baltic Sea off the south-east­ern coast of Swe­den, is dom­i­nated by a vast lime­stone plateau.

Peo­ple have lived there for some five thou­sand years, adapt­ing their way of life to the phys­i­cal con­straints of the is­land. As a con­se­quence, the land­scape is unique, and there is abun­dant ev­i­dence of a con­tin­u­ous hu­man set­tle­ment from pre­his­toric times to the present.

This out­stand­ing hu­man set­tle­ment has made op­ti­mum use of di­verse land­scape types on a sin­gle is­land. Lime­stone bedrock and a warm, dry cli­mate have set lim­its for how the is­lan­ders can use their land­scape.

Ear­lier, the land was di­vided into in­fields and pas­tures. The in­fields lay clos­est to the vil­lage and con­sisted of arable lands and mead­ows. The pas­tures – the al­var plains and the coastal lands – were used for graz­ing.

With the trans­for­ma­tion of agri­cul­ture in the 19th cen­tury, this dis­tinc­tion dis­ap­peared on the main­land and else­where in Europe. In­stead of be­ing part of the agri­cul­tural sys­tem, pas­tures were used for tim­ber pro­duc­tion. In Oland, bar­ren soil ruled this out, and the old di­vi­sion, with lin­ear vil­lages in ‘law­ful lo­ca­tion’, was re­tained and is eas­ily dis­cernible to­day.

South­ern Oland is a liv­ing agrar­ian land­scape where vil­lages, arable lands, coastal lands and al­var plains make up this World Her­itage prop­erty.

Sev­eral wind­mills are seen in the agri­cul­tural land­scape of south­ern Oland, a UNESCO site in Swe­den

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