Rivers, regulation and restoration: land use history of floodplains in a peri-urban landscape in Luxembourg, 1777 - 2000

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Rivers, regulation and restoration: land use history of floodplains in a peri-urban landscape in Luxembourg, 1777 - 2000

This paper discusses the historical changes to and the uses of floodplain landscapes in Luxembourg from 1770-2000 as a case study of a region with a rural past and a peri-urban present. Based on the historical landscape analysis approach, the study comprises historical evidence of written, cartographic and oral sources collected at a regional (Gutland) and a local (Syr Valley) level. The floodplains investigated were old cultural landscapes, shaped by agriculture, livestock husbandry, river regulation measures, land improvement, milling, navigation, mining and fisheries. Landscape change has been characterised by different periods of intensity, however it was not until the last century that these changes had a large-scale impact, inducing a complete loss of several ecological and socio-economic functions. A historical perspective of local landscape conditions and land use change is needed to maintain landscape identity in a contemporary peri-urban environment, and to base planning and restoration activities on reliable data.

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