The focus of this handbook is on understanding the values of both cultural and natural resources in cultural landscapes and finding ways to successfully integrate this understanding into management. Although many tools and guidelines for managing cultural landscapes now exist, effective integration of natural resources into management planning for cultural landscapes remains a challenge.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site, Alberta,
Because the recognition of cultural landscapes is relatively
recent in the United States, this resource is not yet widely
understood beyond the circle of professional resource managers.
In contrast, the terms “natural resource” and
“ecology” became household words at in the 1970s.
“Natural landscapes” are usually defined as areas
that have not been actively managed or developed. These lands
have ecological systems that provide habitat for wildlife,
retain biodiversity, purify air and water, and provide a place
for recreation. In recent years, a better understanding has
developed of the sustained periodic or long-term human occupation
of many “natural landscapes,” since many have
a history of land use that has significantly influenced the
“Cultural landscape” is a much less familiar
term encompassing a diversity of places, many with significant
land use history or other cultural values. Cultural landscapes
include battlefields such as Gettysburg and Antietam; the
homes and designed estate grounds of dignitaries, inventors,
and writers; the sites held sacred by native peoples from
prehistoric times to the present; and the valleys where our
ancestors settled and farmed. Many cultural landscapes have
maintained a continuity of land use into the present.
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Arizona,
Many types of cultural landscapes ranging from important
historic gardens of less than an acre to rural vernacular
historic districts of several thousand acres have been conserved.
One important development in the past decade has been the
conservation of many ethnographic landscapes and places of
identity for aboriginal communities, illustrating that multiculturalism
and diversity have gained recognition in the heritage preservation
movement. Recently, a number of local initiatives have resulted
in designation of heritage areas by the U.S. Congress; this
has focused attention on larger-scale landscapes where an
array of cultural and natural values shape regional character