, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 559–578

Traditional Farming Landscapes for Sustainable Living in Scandinavia and Japan: Global Revival Through the Satoyama Initiative


    • Department of Geology/Quaternary Geology
  • Junko Kitagawa
    • International Research Center for Japanese Studies
  • Per Lagerås
    • Swedish National Heritage Board
  • Koji Nakamura
    • The Satoyama Satoumi ProjectKanazawa University
  • Naoko Sasaki
    • Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesKyoto Prefectural University
  • Yoshinori Yasuda
    • Graduate School of Environmental StudiesTohoku University

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-014-0499-6

Cite this article as:
Berglund, B.E., Kitagawa, J., Lagerås, P. et al. AMBIO (2014) 43: 559. doi:10.1007/s13280-014-0499-6


Traditional, pre-industrial farming was adapted to the natural environment—topography, geology, hydrology, climate, and biota. Traditional land use systems are still to be traced in Scandinavia as an “infield/outland landscape”, and in Japan as a “Satoyama landscape.” There are obvious similarities and differences in land use—the main difference being that pasturing of cattle and sheep has been less important in Japan. These land use systems can be traced back to early sedentary settlements 1500–2500 years ago. In both regions, traditional management almost ceased in the mid-twentieth century leading to afforestation and decreased biological diversity. Today, there is in Japan a growing movement for landscape restoration and promotion of a sustainable living countryside based on local agrarian and forestry production, local energy, tourism, etc. With this background, the so-called Satoyama Initiative has been organized and introduced as a global socio-ecological project with ecosystem services for human well-being.


Agrarian land use historySatoyama landscapeInfield/outlandNature restorationBiodiversity changesDeforestation history

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© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014