What wetland are we protecting and restoring? Quantifying the human creation of protected areas in Scotland

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This paper presents an archaeological perspective of modified lacustrine environments in Scotland currently designated as protected areas for biodiversity. After introducing how ‘natural’ is embedded in biodiversity protection and restoration, an approach to archaeologically assess the anthropogenic creation of protected biodiversity is laid out using an existing dataset on historic drainage of Scottish lochs. This approach is one way to quantify the degree to which valued and protected wetland habitats and biodiversity are products of human activity, specifically drainage. Where this is the case, wetland archaeology of historic drainage can improve management and habitat restoration through articulating processes of shifting ecological baselines and defining natural states in environments. This is explored with a case study and argued to support a novel ecosystems framework for protected areas and restoration. With this view, a model is proposed for how wetland archaeology can improve wetland restoration while reducing possible conflicts with the preservation of wetland archaeology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Wetland Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


  • Protected Areas
  • natural
  • novel ecosystems
  • historic land-use change
  • drainage
  • wetalnd restoration
  • habitat management
  • Scotland

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