“Nature has gone wild” – perceptions of landscape changes in Hungary
The meaning of the word “nature” can be much less natural in some contexts than one might think – certainly not “natural” in the sense of “obvious”. Our aim is to compare perceptions of two different social groups, namely local farmers and scientist-conservationists, about landscape change processes of a 20x30 km territory in the central part of the Duna-Tisza Interflow, Hungary. Our area of study is a very diverse, mainly agricultural, rural one, which also includes protected areas of the Kiskunság National Park. Based on previous studies, we focused on dominant ecological trends such as land abandonment, spontaneous and deliberate afforestation, transformations of wetland habitats, spread of adventive plants and wild animals etc. Each of these trends was somehow a change of naturalness: the question is how, according to the obviously different points of view of the different groups of people.
We conducted semi-structured interviews about these landscape trends and about their subjective evaluation among the two studied groups. The interviews asked for both quantitative (Liker-scale type data) and qualitative type of data (personal narratives in response to open ended questions – hence the quotation in the title), so in the analysis, in addition to statistical tools, we also applied content analysis to the different narratives as well.