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The Cultural Landscape cycle

Traditional activities create and maintain the multitude of Cultural Landscapes that you can see today while traveling across Europe: from the heathlands of Norway to the terraces of Italy. These activities are linked to each other in a kind of cycle: the cycle of the cultural landscape. We describe this cycle from a possible starting point represented by the clearance activities. Clearance is necessary for the opening of new fields for agricultural purposes. This is mainly done by cutting and/or burning the wild vegetation leaving room for the creation of open spaces. After clearing, the fields must be prepared for cultivation by plowing. Traditionally this was done using animals like cows, oxen, and mules; nowadays machines are more often used. Once the fields are ready, the sowing process starts. The land that is not used for crop cultivation can be used as grazing land for animals like goats, sheep, and cows; afterwards, the animals are brought back to their stables for milking. Subsequently, this milk can be used for direct consumption or it can be employed for cheese making or other dairy products. While in the stable, the animals are fed with hay. Hay making is one the most common activities in the European landscapes. Towards the end of the summer and onwards, it's time for harvesting the different crops: cereals, grapes, potatoes etc. Once the products are harvested they have to be stored. For this purpose various storage structures are used.