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Biblioteca Historical Ecology of Scandinavian Infield Systems

Historical Ecology of Scandinavian Infield Systems

Historical Ecology of Scandinavian Infield Systems

Resource information

Date of publication
Dezembro 2020
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID
LP-midp002428

Infield systems originated during the early Iron Age and existed until the 19th century, although passing many transitions and changes. The core features of infield systems were enclosed infields with hay-meadows and crop fields, and unenclosed outland mainly used for livestock grazing. We examine the transitions and changes of domesticated landscapes with infield systems using the framework of human niche construction, focusing on reciprocal causation affecting change in both culture and environment. A first major transition occurred during the early Middle Ages, as a combined effect of a growing elite society and an increased availability of iron promoted expansion of villages with partly communal infields. A second major transition occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, due to a then recognized inefficiency of agricultural production, leading to land reforms. In outlands, there was a continuous expansion of management throughout the whole period. Even though external factors had significant impacts as well, human niche construction affected a range of cultural and environmental features regarding the management and structure of domesticated landscapes with infield systems. Thus, niche construction theory is a useful framework for understanding the historical ecology of infield systems.

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