Anthropogenic Open Land in Boreal Landscapes: Investigations into the Creation and Maintenance of Arable Fields on Swedish Farms

Lovisa Solbär

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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The human-induced open land (cropland, pasture) in the predominantly forested boreal landscapes relies on arable land use; it thus represents an active intervention to hold back forest regrowth. The thesis investigates the practical management decisions by landholders on discrete farms, which in Sweden often comprise both forest and arable lands. The theoretical framework utilizes the concepts timespace, landscape, orientation and commitment to understand how the farmer relates to the land. The study draws on farm cases in various parts of the country, and links land-cover continuity on arable fields and forest clearance with land-use decision-making as a temporally and spatially situated activity. Also when retiring from active land management (due to old age or farm-external income) farmers continue to maintain arable fields, a finding that is interpreted as deriving from the values perceived in the land and the importance of their reinforcement for the landholder identity. Locational fragmentation of managed arable land scattered in the landscape, the increasing of farm sizes following profitability concerns, and a local shortage of land together with other factors induce land clearance on contemporary farms, preferably near the farm centre and contiguous with already managed fields. This finding is understandable when considering time as a resource in farming, and suggests that contemporary boreal landscapes may contain areas that are subjected to an opening-up land-cover dynamics, against the prevailing trend of reforestation.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Human Geography
  • Germundsson, Tomas, Supervisor
  • von Wright, Moira, Supervisor, External person
Award date2014 Apr 5
ISBN (Print)978-91-7473-621-2 (print), 978-91-7473-622-9 (pdf)
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2014-04-05
Time: 13:00
Place: Världen, Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Setten, Gunhild
Title: professor
Affiliation: Geografisk institutt, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet, Trondheim

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography


  • Landscape
  • timespace
  • time-geography
  • farming
  • boreal land use
  • time-economy
  • embedded values


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