Integrating Components of Resilient Systems into Cultural Landscape Management Practices | Chris Beagan and Susan Dolan
Cultural landscapes are historically significant properties that show evidence of human interaction with the physical environment. In the United States National Park Service (NPS), their significance is evaluated based on their physical integrity and associations with people, events, or trends that have shaped American history. Cultural landscapes across the nation are managed so as to preserve those aspects of their physical character that convey their historical significance. The federal government’s management principles are outlined in The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes Standards, which include four treatment approaches: preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction.
Preservation is the treatment with the objective of retaining the extant historic character of a landscape. This treatment is applied and sustained through the ongoing preservation maintenance practices of care, repair, and replacement in-kind. Specialized techniques are used in preservation maintenance to conserve historic character, but the techniques can be adapted to better support living systems and favor environmental health. For example, lawn care techniques can be modified to more sustainable methods without altering the historic character of a lawn. As preservation maintenance is the default approach to cultural landscape management before and after any treatment is applied, some flexibility to increase resilience may be found in the ongoing preservation of any landscape.
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