Lessons in International Preservation & Stewardship of Cultural & Ecological Landscapes of Global Significance
25-27 March 2004
Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA
Summary report by Patricia M. O’Donnell, FASLA, AICP
Chair, Scientific Committee for the 2004 Symposium
World Heritage USA organized a symposium addressing the interface of cultural and natural resources entitled Learning from World Heritage: Lessons from International Preservation & Stewardship of Cultural & Ecological Landscapes of Global Significance. A multi-disciplinary group of 123 professionals from twelve nations met to share experience, draw lessons and address issues surrounding the interface of nature and culture in the landscape. Drawing upon work about cultural and natural landscapes in recent years, and the inscription of 36 cultural landscapes on the World Heritage list from 1993 to 2003, complex presentations and discussions explored a wide range of landscape preservation and conservation issues.
Opening session papers presented an overview and context for the symposium including cultural and natural landscape categories and status, current World Heritage status and progress in heritage landscape protection, and constructs for protection and stewardship from Australia and Argentina. Papers addressing the planning and development of Pilgrims paths of Ireland, history and plans for the Champaner Pavagadh Sanctuary of India, and a construct for Iraqi heritage areas presented a range of issues related to complex landscapes. Constructs for and designation of inspirational landscapes were explored. Chinese World heritage natural landscapes, the Chinese conception of nature and landscape and cross-cultural misconceptions leading to unexpected results were presented. The unique character, scenery and cultural and biological diversity of productive lands and challenges facing agricultural landscapes were highlighted with presentations on the rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, the Japanese farmer as a gardener and the multiple resources of the Agave and Tequila agricultural and production landscapes of Mexico. Preserving, revitalizing and shaping heritage communities into the future was the topic of a USA National Heritage Areas paper and one addressing the rebuilding of tribal lands by the Blackfeet Indian Land Trust. The range of reciprocal benefits resulting form student service learning in Czech Republic heritage landscapes addressed further issues.