‘Mountains are the great cathedrals of the Earth’: landscape, high places, and the sacred in Europe

Veronica Della Dora (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)

Keywords: Cultural Landscape, Religion, Heritage, John Ruskin, European Mountains

Historically, religion has been a driving force in shaping the cultural landscapes of Europe. While marks of pre-Christian pasts survive in the landscape in the most striking forms – think of Stonehenge or the Parthenon, for example – churches endure as among the most characteristic, if not iconic, landmarks of any European village or city. Their architecture, location, and often their sheer size, much contribute to the distinctive atmosphere of a place, or what some called ‘genius loci’.

Engaging with heritage landscapes: past, present and future

David C Harvey (University of Exeter, UK)

Keywords: Landscape and Heritage relations; Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC); Non-elite heritage; Heritage temporality; Heritage and the Anthropocene

This paper explores the relations between heritage and landscape, drawing on a range of case studies to think through the consequences and opportunities that a heritage sensibility brings to landscape studies. Critiquing the tendency to ‘fix’ the past in aspic, through reference to essentialised national framings and practices of ‘time tagging’, this paper considers the consequences of building in greater temporal depth, and a plurality of heritage practice and experience.

Alpine natural landscapes and climate change

Hans Stötter (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

Keywords: climate change impacts, vulnerability, future scenarios, transformation

In the Alps, as in most other European mountain areas, the regional dimension of global climate change and its consequences is far beyond its global average. Marked climate change impacts are clearly visible and quantifiable in human-environment systems in mountain areas. Both the natural (e.g. glaciers, snow line, tree line) and the cultural (agriculture, forestry, tourism) landscape are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Archetypes of land-use trajectories reveal cascading effects on the multi-functionality of mountain landscapes

Ulrike Tappeiner (University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria and EURAC.research, Bolzano-Bozen, Italy)

Keywords: land-use change in mountain regions, agrarian landscape development, landscape-scale biodiversity, spatiotemporal patterns of ecosystem service (ES) capacities, European Alps

Human-driven land-use and land-cover (LULC) change is considered one of the greatest ecological pressures in mountain regions. Over the past century, across the European Alps, extensive LULC changes have been observed. The shift from smallholder seasonal agrarian use to highly managed areas of grassland, pasture, cropland, forest and settlement areas today has substantially transformed the landscape patterns of the Alpine valleys. Biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) are linked to landscape characteristics or uses and therefore evolve with landscape changes.

The European Alps – a story of migration and colonisation

Oliver Bender (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innsbruck, Austria)

Keywords: Population mobility, Settlement structure, Genesis of a cultural landscape, History of geographic settlement research, European Alps

This keynote lecture discusses population and settlement developments in the rural areas of the European Alps. With an area of nearly 190,000 km² (according to the Alpine Convention) and a maximum altitude reaching 4,810 m (Mont Blanc), this range of mountains is not only the largest but also the highest situated entirely in Europe.