Role of natural landscapes

Landscape is a visual representation of the natural characteristics of an area. Each area has specific landscape values. Landscape is a visible physical representation of areas and ecosystems.

According to some definitions, natural landscapes are landscapes that are not under the influence of human activities. According to others, humans can take part in shaping it, but not destroying it. Natural landscapes are valuable when animate and inanimate elements in it are free to move and change. Sometimes landscapes are important even when there are no important fauna or flora elements, such as various geological elements: mountain peaks, volcanos and rocks.

Photography: Kristina Najdovska

Landscapes can be divided into different categories depending on their age, appearance, form and management. There are:

Virgin landscapes are unchanged since their formation, places where there is no human impact.
Historically managed landscapes where humans have left their mark throughout history.
Actively managed landscapes are places that are actively and currently managed by humans.
Today the number of virgin natural landscapes is on the decline and they can be found in physically and geographically limited parts of the world, such as deserted islands, high mountaintops, deserts or within protected areas, such as national parks and parks of nature.

Natural landscapes have 3 main functions in nature: environmental, social and economic.
From an environmental aspect, landscapes are a collection of many habitats where numerous species live and reproduce. They have an important role in the conservation of specific habitats and the food chain. Virgin landscapes are particularly important for the preservation of rare animal and plant species.

Landscapes also have a major economic function. They are a source of food and natural resources for the community, and more recently a source of livelihood because of their huge tourism potential.

Natural landscapes also have an important social function for people. They give us a feeling of belonging, we often connect with them spiritually and historically, while protected landscapes also impact the quality of life.

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