Title: Endangered settlements and protected areas in Estonia: the challenge of maintaining cultural landscapes

Authors: Jaak Kliimask; Priit-Kalev Parts; Henri Järv; Kalev Sepp; Raymond Ward

Addresses: Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia ' Department of Estonian Native Crafts, University of Tartu, Viljandi Culture Academy, Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi, Estonia ' Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia ' Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia ' Aquatic Research Centre, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK; Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia

Abstract: This paper discusses the conservation of protected areas of Estonia and rural cultural landscapes, in order to provide baseline information for key institutions in protected areas to develop more efficient management policies for cultural landscapes. Based on demographic and settlement analysis of protected areas, we found that present conservation management practices in limited management zones do not guarantee the sustainability of cultural landscapes, as human activity there is practically vanishing. We found that ensuring sustainable human activity, which is the key factor to preservation of cultural landscapes, benefits from the reduction of legal and practical restrictions on human activity in limited management zones. We propose a methodology which can be used to assess the viability of settlements located in protected areas and select endangered settlements (∼20% of settlements located in protected areas), where relieving restrictions of nature conservation would be beneficial. Additionally we propose four possible policies for reducing such restrictions.

Keywords: protected area management; nature conservation; cultural landscapes; natural heritage; cultural heritage; rural development; rural depopulation; settlement viability; community development; endangered settlements; protected areas; Estonia; culture; demographics; settlement analysis; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2015.074094

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2015 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.346 - 368

Available online: 07 Jan 2016 *

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