Revealing Long-Term Change in Vegetation Landscapes:

The English Lake District and Beyond

Ecological restoration and re-wilding are common practices in the management of landscapes. Both approaches aim to restore past landscapes and, in doing so, enhance biodiversity. Unfortunately, whilst we have a good understanding of what past landscapes looked like, we have little idea of what the species were that inhabited those landscapes.

Botanical surveys using modern scientific approaches did not start until around the 1960’s, prior to this data is in disparate and descriptive sources which pose many challenges for scientists to use. The lack of readily accessible data makes it difficult to make management decisions regarding how habitats should be conserved or restored.

This network brings together academics from landscape history, digital humanities, botany, and conservation to address this challenge.

Using approaches from digital humanities we can access a wide range of sources that not easily accessible to botanists. We are utilising a corpus of over 300 texts that we have already assembled.

In a series of workshops we are exploring the major challenges involved in using this data appropriately and communicating its information to academics and non-academics who are interested in the landscapes of the present and the future.

Over the course of the network we will use a range of workshops to develop and shape a series of exemplars of our techniques in action focusing on a small number of species in the Lake District.

Co-Investigator Carly Stevens introduces the project in this short video
Link to the project page on the UKRI Gateway to Research