Finding the necessary reference landscapes

Many stakeholders, designers and managers of newly constructed landscapes have probably too few reference landscapes in their minds concerning woodland types, because too few and well-developed types exist in the landscape today—this is particularly true of urban contexts. For example, in Britain people probably think of an urban woodland as a thick green mass or a mixed forest stand with a lot of nettles and shrubs with no real visual attractiveness. Further, there is probably no articulation between individual trees or tree layers, no interesting field layer, and very little else that inspires you to walk right through. With such a woodland in mind you are better to keep to the clayish paths and accept the litter found along it. In order to come closer to a more positive and articulated meaning of a woodland and its possible attractive qualities through management, there is a need to re-find and re-use a different language, with a whole variety of words for describing different sizes, structural patterns, architectural individual

Finding the necessary reference landscapes


A montado landscape from Portugal, probably the most famous grazed tree-rich landscape in Europe, with its grass sward and its unending open canopy of oaks, which is sometimes grazed by cattle and sometimes by goats, sheep or the Iberian pig, and which is sometimes more open and sometimes more rich with trees. It is an interesting reference landscape type, with a remarkable closeness to an ideal of a savannah landscape or a designed area within the classic English Landscape park-style

life-forms and management regimes. We can do this partly by finding good reference landscapes that embody greater complexity and that stimulate active use and enjoyment. We can do this by looking at historical woodland types (because in many regions woodlands were taken away from the landscape by farmers many hundreds of years ago, and here it is sometimes difficult to imagine woodlands as parts of possible and desired future landscapes), but also by looking at traditional management systems that are used in different countries at present.

Updated: October 1, 2015 — 2:55 pm