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Ecology, Economy, and Upland Landscapes: Socio-Ecological Dynamics in the Alps during the Transition to Modernity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Francesco CarrerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Human interaction with mountain environments is generally perceived as an adaptation of local communities to the constraining ecological and morphological characteristics of their territory, a preconception challenged by many historians and ecologists yet still largely accepted for seasonally exploited uplands. Traditional upland seasonal practices are considered timeless and immutable as the mountain landscapes shaped by such practices. We combine the methodologies of landscape archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, and historical ecology in order to examine the validity of this assumption. Our analysis of two case studies from the French and Italian Alps between the eighteenth and the twenty-first century shows that socioeconomic dynamics affect the resilience of local montane ecosystems and the historical character of upland landscapes, and reveals that historical social, economic, and ecological driving forces contributed to upland landscape change, so that the sustainability of ‘traditional’ mountain land-use should not be presumed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carrer F, Walsh K, Mocci F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Ecology

Year: 2020

Volume: 48

Pages: 69-84

Online publication date: 28/02/2020

Acceptance date: 28/02/2020

Date deposited: 09/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0300-7839

ISSN (electronic): 1572-9915

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10745-020-00130-y


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