Research group: Liisi Jääts

Research in the area of heritage studies and environmental history was looking how heritage landscapes have been shaped by human impact as well as natural processes. Such landscapes are of interest for heritage studies but also for natural sciences. The aim of the interdisciplinary project (2007-2011) was to study a specific land use technique – slash-and-burn cultivation which has been widely practiced in Estonia for ca 4000 years and continued up to the 20th century. An important part of the project was establishing experimental slash-and-burn fields and interpreting the experiment results in the light of existing data. The project resulted in analysis of the ethnological material in the ENM archives (the techniques of slash-and-burn, the yield of landrace rye in this land use method, the reasons for its decline in Estonia, the last documented cases in 1940s).

The experimental fields added important data to the existing ethnological, archaeological and palaeoecological information: insights into land management techniques and tools, the archival data on the rye yield numbers were confirmed, the experiment provided new data on the impact of burning practices on the soil and flora (e.g. the temperatures in the soil during burning, the changes in plant communities before and after the burn and cultivation).

The previous competence and knowledge have been integrated into two areas of of ongoing research activities: the area of heritage culture studies and consultation work carried out by the Cultural Heritage Study Centre, and the currently developing research in the area of food heritage and food culture which was set up so as to involve the approach offered by environmental history.


Past land-use and its impact on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (ETF 6995, 2007-2011, principal investigator Anneli Poska). Research staff: Liisi Jääts


Jääts, L., Kihno, K., Tomson, P., Konsa, M. 2010. Tracing fire cultivation in Estonia – In: Forestry Studies, 53, 53-65.

Jääts, L., Konsa, M., Kihno, K., Tomson, P. (2011). Fire Cultivation in Estonian Cultural Landscapes. In: Peil, T., Lang, V. & Kull, K. (eds) The Space of Culture - the Place of Nature in Estonia and Beyond, Tartu: Tartu University Publishers, 165-180.

Parts, P.-K., Rennu, M., Jääts, L., Matsin, A., Metslang, J. (2011). Developing Sustainable Heritage-Based Livelihoods: an initial study of artisans and their crafts in Viljandi County, Estonia. In: International Journal of Heritage Studies, 17(5), 401-425. 51


2010. Elupaik – pärandmaastik. Karula inimesed ja loodus / Habitat - Heritage Landscape. The People and Nature of Karula, curators Kristel Rattus, Liisi Jääts, Helena Grauberg

2010. Kui põllud põlesid. Näitus alepõllundusest / When the fileds were burning. An exhibition of slash-and-burn farming, curators Liisi Jääts, Pille Tomson, Marge Konsa, Kersti Kihno, cooperation with Valga Museum, Tallinn University Institute of History, Old Võrumaa Cultural Programme, Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT)

2016. Eesti püsinäitus Kohtumised. Inimene ja keskkond / Estonian permanent exhibition Encounters. People and the Environment, curators Liisi Jääts, Kristel Rattus, Ulrike Plath (Tallinn University), Kati Lindström (University of Tartu), Riin Magnus (University of Tartu), Kadri Tüür (University of Tartu), Villu Soon (University of Tartu)