A historical approach: from pristine to urban-industrial woodlands

Independent of their location relative to urban agglomerations, peri-urban as well as non-urban woodlands can vary tremendously in their origins and development history. In addition to the spatial dimension illustrated in Ta­ble 1, the urban woodland matrix is also determined by its origins. In this second dimension, four woodland types can be differentiated (Table 2). They differ fundamentally in regard to habitat continuity and to the agency of natural versus cultural mechanisms. It should be said, however, that the illustration in Table 2 presents idealized types. In practice, there are nu­merous points of overlap, just as there are narrow spatial overlaps and in­terweavings between the various types of woodlands.

For our understanding and also for developing urban woodlands, the conditions of their origins are of particular importance. A number of quali­tative features result from this history that ensure certain social and eco­logical functions. Such features include, for example, the age, the species composition, the stand structure of the woodlands, the existence of certain natural elements (e. g. cliffs, bodies of water) or artifacts and also infra­structure elements such as parking lots, walking and riding paths, picnic areas, etc.