Environmental Impacts of Rural Landscape Change During the Post-Communist Period in the Baltic Sea Region
Landscape change is one of the most important anthropogenic processes affecting ecosystems. Historically, there have been several far-reaching transformations of Eastern and Northern European ecosystems due to agricultural transitions. The most recent one, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, resulted in large-scale changes in rural landscapes of Eastern Europe. In many countries, over 20% of agricultural land was abandoned. The trend is especially strong in Estonia, where 54% of arable land was abandoned between 1992 and 2005. Land abandonment can affect a variety of ecosystem traits such as biodiversity, water supply, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. The outcome depends on the type of land abandoned and the management following abandonment. This chapter looks at its varied implications for environmental governance.
KeywordsLand abandonment Ecosystem traits Estonia
We thank Stig Blomskog for his comments on the manuscript
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