Abstracts and References

Published: 03 August 2015

Arild Holt Jensen


A prominent feature in present day Estonia and Latvia is large tracts of formerly productive land laid idle and production buildings of collective farms in ruins. However, in some areas most farmland is actively used. An investigation of possible landscapes of action, both for the national decision makers and the single landowner is needed in order to understand recent transformations. The empirical focus is on the local responses to the restructuring/restitution measures adopted by the Estonian and Latvian governments in the 1990s and the resulting effects on the cultural landscape and the agricultural development. Restitution was politically necessary, but it has had a number of unexpected effects on landscape development and agricultural production. New ‘speculative’ land use patterns of urban sprawl around the larger cities, with negative effects on agricultural landscapes, are among these. On the other hand, where large production units could be formed as capitalist enterprises and where agricultural land is good, agricultural production is maintained. The actual, local landscape development is, however, a result of local responses to general processes. The focus of this study is on how individuals and local communities interpret opportunities and obstacles set by personal ambitions, local conditions and general policies. The study is limited to some few selected case studies in Estonia and Latvia. The cases represent quite different results, and the reasons for this has been analysed.

Keywords: Cultural landscape change, restitution, production unit, transition economy, large and small scale farming;

 Acta Geobalcanica | Volume 1 | Issues 2 | Pp: 65-73;DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18509/AGB.2015.07

  Available Online First: 03 August 2015


[1] Ausdal, C., Khanal, B., Raun, J. & Ruberg,G. (2014): Effects of the presence of the temporary residents on permanent residents lives – case study of Vormsi island. NORD+14 Student field course report.

[2] Holt-Jensen, A. & Raagmaa, G. (2010): Restitution of agricultural land in Estonia: consequences for landscape development and production. Norwegian Journal of Geography,64,129-141.

[3] Nikodemus, O., Bell, S., Peneze, Z. & I.Krüze (2010): The influence of European Union single area payments and less favoured area payments on Latvian landscape. European Countryside, 1 2010, 25-41.

[4] Peil, T. (1999): Islescapes. Estonian small islands and iselanders through three centuries.Almquist&Wiksell International, Stockholm

[5] Peil, T. &Sooväli, H. (2005): Estonian national landscapes – the sum and its parts.

[6] In Peil, T. & Jones, M. (eds): Landscape, Law and Justice. Institutt for sammen­lig­nende kulturforskning. Serie B: Skrifter 118, 49-60. Novus Forlag, Oslo.

[7] Svärd, S. (2007): Kärrslätt – Min By.Trio Tryck, Örebro