Pigs and Pollards: Medieval Insights for UK Wood Pasture Restoration

Medieval Pigs

 Medieval PigsPigs and Pollards: Medieval Insights for UK Wood Pasture Restoration

Dolly Jørgensen (Umeå University)

Sustainability: 29 January, 2013, 5, 387-399.


English wood pastures have become a target for ecological restoration, including the restoration of pollarded trees and grazing animals, although pigs have not been frequently incorporated into wood pasture restoration schemes. Because wood pastures are cultural landscapes, created through the interaction of natural processes and human practices, a historical perspective on wood pasture management practices has the potential to provide insights for modern restoration projects. Using a wide range of both written and artistic sources form the Middle Ages, this article argues that pigs were fed in wood pastures both during the mast season when acorns were available and at other times as grazing fields. Pollarded pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) likely dominated these sustainable cultural landscapes during the medieval period.

Wood pastures have long been identified as particularly important for habitat conservation [1–4]. Scattered trees, such as those in the dehesa pasture areas of Spain, have been identified as keystone structures at both local and landscape ecological scales [5]. The large old trees on a wood pasture serve as biodiversity hotspots because they provide habitat for bat and bird species, lichens, fungi, and invertebrates and the surrounding pasture and open woodland serves as the home for flowering plants, rare butterflies and moths, as well as birds.


Click here to read this article from Sustainability


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