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J Environ Manage. 2009 Jun;90(8):2794-800. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

Environmental history: a piece in the puzzle for establishing plans for environmental management.

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Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Establishment of plans for environmental planning and management requires that a number of natural and societal factors must be taken into consideration. Insights into the inherent dynamics of nature as well as the role that past human activities have played for establishing the current condition of the landscape and the natural environment in general are essential. Many natural and man-made changes occur over time scales of decades or centuries, and these are difficult to comprehend without a historical perspective. Such a perspective can be obtained using palaeoecological studies, i.e. by geochemical and biological analyses of lake sediment and peat deposits. To illustrate the long-term dynamics of nature and particularly the role of man, we present here five case studies from Sweden concerning pollution, lake acidification, lake eutrophication, biodiversity, and landscape dynamics and conservation--topics of broad interests--and discuss benefits of including a longer time perspective in environmental management.

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