A Guide to Research, Planning, and Stewardship

2017-08

Climate Change and Cultural Landscapes:  A Guide to Research, Planning and Stewardship was developed over a number of years by the Cultural Landscape Research Group, at the University of Oregon.  It included field work in different types of cultural landscapes in varying ecological zones in twelve national parks in the east and the west.

Cultural landscapes, like all cultural resources, continue to experience the many impacts of projected climate change. Such valued places benefit from a concerted effort to understand these impacts and respond to the management challenges of protecting them now and for future generations. This requires a team that integrates a diverse range of skills, including those of cultural landscape specialists, climate scientists, historic preservationists, ecologists, biologists, resource managers, historical architects, material conservators and others; theirs is the task to directly tackle what may often be an uncomfortable level of uncertainty. The National Park Service, through its Climate Change Response Program and its Cultural Landscapes Program, plays a leading role in developing and testing creative tools and models to support this effort, as anchored in cultural resource management policy and protocol. It is, and must be, an on-going, dynamic process, with foundational insights derived from careful efforts, reports and models fostered by those programs. Their investment forms an indispensable part of cultural landscapes’ shared legacy.

The decision tree, a step-by-step process diagram, provides a structure for research, planning and stewardship, with the recognition that this most often is an iterative and responsive process.

The intended audience for this Guide includes managers of cultural landscapes facing projected climate change impacts at all levels. The Guide offer ideas to engage this challenge, whether within or beyond the National Parks. The first step, as shown in the Guide, is to understand and document the existing system of a cultural landscape’s significant features, including buildings and structures. Although beyond the explanatory scope addressed in the Guide, an understanding of a cultural landscape’s history and condition – as established in a Cultural Landscape Inventory and/or Cultural Landscape Report – remains a necessary starting point for this process.

Appreciation is extended to the NPS Cultural Landscapes Program, both nationally and in the Pacific West Region; the NPS Climate Change Response Program; and the NPS Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science. Very special thanks to the NPS National Center for Preservation Technology and Training for financial support and flexibility, as well as the University of Oregon Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Contact: rzm@uoregon.edu

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
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