The Landscape of Abandonment in Europe

Abandoned fields growing with bush, Velebit Nature Park, Croatia. Image: Rewilding Europe, Staffan Widstrand.
Land abandonment in the Faia Brava reserve, Portugal. Image: Rewilding Europe.
Forest areas in Switzerland.
Spreading woods in Switzerland.
Forests in Europe.
Liguria. Photo: Luca Casonato.
Liguria. Photo: Luca Casonato.
Liguria. Photo: Luca Casonato.
Abandonment in Leventina.
Scenes of abandonment in Europe.

The abandonment of agricultural land and the general withdrawal from inhabited, cultivated and farmed areas is a growing global phenomenon that the Chair is exploring in greater depth as part of its research. Triggered by complex processes and various factors, the current extent of abandoned land has reached unprecedented dimensions. Particularly in Europe, the overgrowth and forestation of formerly cultivated land is thought to be widespread and continually on the increase. Based on case studies from Switzerland and Europe, the goal of the research was to localize the abandoned areas and then categorise and define them as a growing component of the contemporary urbanisation process. The focus was on the question of how the landscape of abandonment represents/shows an economic, ecological, social or psychological problem and where their future qualities and potentials lie.

Project: Günther Vogt, Daia Stutz
Project duration: January–December 2013

Caption: Abandoned agricultural land in Croatia.
Source: Staffan Widstrand, Rewilding Europe