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date: 21 July 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the contemporary significance of agricultural heritage, a concept in which the largely cultural and societal concerns for heritage preservation are shuffled into those related to nature conservation and the development of agriculture. Both heritage preservation and nature conservation cast mutually constitutive and relatively fixed ideas of past nature and culture into present and future. Agriculture, too, arrives heavily burdened with inherited meaning, as historically and materially it is “Exhibit A” in the powerful modern narrative of “Culture” gradually rising over “Nature.” In this context, agricultural heritage is almost automatically cast as a relic of the past ways of traditional peoples and their less efficient, less useful, pre-Modern natures. This chapter suggests instead that agricultural heritage represents one of humankind’s richest bodies of environmental experience and most successful manners of conveying knowledge through time, providing material examples of alternative knowledge of nature itself.

Keywords: agricultural heritage, conservation, Anthropocene, GIAHS, Earth System, environmental knowledge

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