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Ratas, U., Puurmann, E.: Human impact on the landscape of small islands in the West-Estonian archipelago. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 1: 119-126, 1995.


Abstract. Research on the development of the interrelationships between society and environment is crucial for the understanding of contemporary landscapes. The West-Estonian archipelago provides an opportunity for such investigations because of its small size, landscape diversity, and welldefined economic activities. The contemporary landscapes of the islands reflect environmental changes resulting from centuries of human activity. This paper describes both natural and human factors in the change in landscape of small Estonian islands during the last centuries. During the period 1850-1940, human activity diversified the landscape structure. During World War II, with the establishment of Soviet rule, the islets were depopulated; their  landscape became more uniform and lost their economic and ecological vitality. The re-establishment of private ownership of land and a market economy is predicted to result in positive changes in the landscape of the islets.

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