Exploring the resilience of cultural landscapes with the help of the local population we can show that their perception is much more realistic (Plieninger, 2016), and the information obtained has a great accuracy. Especially when the local population, in our case, the Saxons, are very attached to the places in which they were born and lived. The aim of this study is to identify the resilience of the Saxon cultural landscape under the impact of the driving forces and signal the changes which have appeared. So, the persistence in time of its dominant features shall indicate a high resilience of the Saxon cultural landscape, while the attenuation of its dominant features (expressed through the perpetuation with modern influences) of the cultural landscape’s features shall suggest a low resilience. We also signal the complete loss of the Saxon cultural landscape patterns. Our study was focused on the following research question: how resilient was the Saxon cultural landscape in relation to the forces that are driving the changes?
Our analysis was performed on Southern Transylvania (Braşov county), in 5 communities: Prejmer, Hărman, Sânpetru, Vulcan, Hălchiu. The research methods were used: (i) structured and semi-structured interview and (ii) assessment of the resilience of the Saxon cultural landscape. The interview was performed in the period August 20 – December 3 2016. In this time frame we had 37 interviews, the target group was formed of the resident population, of Saxon ethnicity, with ages between 45 and 93. The interview included a set of 8 questions. E.g. for measuring the resilience through the identification of the driver forces which produced transformation in the Saxon cultural landscape: Q1-„ How long have you been living in this locality?” Q2- „Are there differences between the traditional way of life once practiced in the village and the present one?
The analysis of the Saxon cultural landscape in South Transylvania shows a persistence in time of its dominant features expressed in a 20% percentage and indicating a high resilience (the elements of the material patrimony are dominant). The attenuation of its dominant features (expressed by perpetuation with modern influences) of the cultural landscape’s features is expressed in a 12% percentage and suggests a low resilience. A significant 68% percentage indicates the complete disappearance of cultural landscape patterns, the dominant being the immaterial ones.
In conclusion, the resilience of the Saxon cultural landscape with the help of the local population showed us that in our case the main factor responsible for the changes was the migration of the Saxons conditioned by political,economic factors. When the Saxons represented the majority they brought added value to landscape they lived in. When they became the minority population (through the migration of Saxons to other countries) they made big efforts to preserve what could be preserved, still being a good example for future generations.
Plieninger T., Draux, H., Fagerholm, N., Bieling, C., Bürgi, M., Kizos, T., Kuemmerle, T., Primdahl, J., Verburg, P.H. 2016. The driving forces of landscape change in Europe: A systematic review of the evidence, Land Use Policy, 57, 204–214.