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Natural landscape

Natural landscape

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A natural landscape is a landscape
Landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

 that is unaffected by human activity. A natural landscape is intact when all living and nonliving elements are free to move and change. The nonliving elements distinguish a natural landscape from a wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

. A wilderness includes areas within which natural processes operate without human interference, but a wilderness must contain life. As implied, a natural landscape may contain either the living or nonliving or both. In his extensive travels in South America, Alexander von Humbolt became the first to conceptualize a natural landscape. Some have described a transition of a pristine landscape state to a humanized landscape state—which includes the human-modified landscape, the primeval landscape, the ancient landscape, the undisturbed wilderness and the managed landscape. The natural landscape is a place under the current control of natural forces and free of the control of people for an extended period of time.

"For here the natural landscape is eloquent of the interplay of forces that have created it. It is spread before us like the pages of an open book...", Silent Spring
Silent Spring
Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement....

, by Rachel Carson, 1962.

History of natural landscape


No place on earth is unaffected by people and our culture. However, there is no place on earth that cannot return to natural landscape if abandoned by culture. People are part of biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, but people exert forces on biodiversity, which destroy the natural landscape. Terms such as semi-natural are used to describe landscapes with both cultural and natural features. People have altered landscape to such an extent that few places on earth remain pristine. Being pristine, though, is not a prerequisite for natural landscape designation. Once abandoned by human influences, the landscape is again under the control of natural processes which accommodate interruptions, resulting in a new variant of the natural landscape.

Examples of cultural forces


Cultural forces are those that, intentionally or unintentionally, influence the landscape. Cultural landscapes are places or artifacts currently maintained by people whether directly or indirectly. Examples of cultural disruptions are: fences, roads, trails, species under human management, invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

 introduced by people, extraction or removal of species and objects, vegetation alteration, alterations of animal populations, natural landscaping
Natural landscaping
.Natural landscaping, also called native gardening, is the use of native plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcover, and grasses which are indigenous to the geographic area of the garden.-Maintenance:...

, buildings, agricultural areas, pollution, paved areas. Areas that may be confused with natural landscape include parks for people, agricultural areas, orchards, maintained views (use of aesthetic judgments), artificial lakes, managed forests, golf courses, nature center trails, back yards, and flower beds.

The conflict between cultural forces and the natural landscape


For a place to return to the natural landscape, all cultural artifacts attracting people must be removed. Natural landscape is the equilibrium that existed prior to significant human impact. The time necessary for an area to return to the natural landscape depends upon the environment, and it may be termed the period of neglect
Neglect
Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for himself or herself, but fails to provide adequate care....

. Neglect, in this context, means the absence of any management whatsoever. Most people can easily recognize a neglected landscape. Human impact on the natural landscape may result in episodes of extinction of native species, episodes of stalled equilibrium, total species destruction and even the putrification of soil and water.

The case for returning land to the natural landscape has been championed by those who recognize the harm resulting from people’s actions on this planet. Popular movies such as Avatar (2009 film) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&ei=dHdUS_ztC9_k8AbQi8CkBA&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=1&ct=result&cd=1&ved=0CDYQBSgA&q=avatar+%22natural+landscape%22&spell=1 and Life After People
Life After People
Life After People is a television documentary series where scientists and other experts speculate about what the Earth might be like if humanity no longer existed, as well as the impact humanity's disappearance might have on the environment and the artificial aspects of civilization...

 focus on potential natural landscape controls or lack thereof. The return of the natural landscape has been opposed by those who wish to groom the natural landscape or simply to demonstrate that the natural landscape has some practical value.

See also

  • Cityscape
    Cityscape
    A cityscape is the urban equivalent of a landscape. Townscape is roughly synonymous with cityscape, though it implies the same difference in urban size and density implicit in the difference between the words city and town. In urban design the terms refer to the configuration of built forms and...

    s
  • Landscape art
    Landscape art
    Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

  • Mother Earth
    Mother Earth
    Mother Earth may refer to:*Mother Nature, a common metaphorical expression for the Earth and its biosphere as the giver and sustainer of life*Mother Earth , a Slavic deity*Gaia , the Greek mythological goddess personifying the earth...

  • Natural environment
    Natural environment
    The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

  • Panorama
    Panorama
    A panorama is any wide-angle view or representation of a physical space, whether in painting, drawing, photography, film/video, or a three-dimensional model....

  • Seascape
    Seascape
    A seascape is a photograph, painting, or other work of art which depicts the sea, in other words an example of marine art. By a backwards development, the word has also come to mean the view of the sea itself, and be applied in planning contexts to geographical locations possessing a good view of...

    s
  • Skyscape art
    Skyscape Art
    Skyscape art depicts representations of the sky, especially in a painting or photograph. Skyscapes differ from cloudscapes because they do not necessarily include clouds. Like cloudscape art, skyscape art can also omit any view of land or anything else which might help to suggest scale or orientation...

  • Soundscape
    Soundscape
    A soundscape is a sound or combination of sounds that forms or arises from an immersive environment. The study of soundscape is the subject of acoustic ecology...