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The Landes region of southwestern France, bordering the Bay of Biscay, is covered by a large pine forest. In fact, it’s the largest ‘maritime pine’ forest in Europe—’maritime pine’ is a species native to the Mediterranean region. But a hundred years ago, the landscape looked very different. Instead of forests, there was a great level of plain that stretched from horizon to horizon. This plain was covered with stunted bushes and dry heath that were periodically burned off by the local population to create grazing land for sheep. Around the middle of the 19th century, there were an estimated one million sheep in this area.

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A 1938 postcard showing shepherds from the marshy region of Landes, France, getting around on stilts.

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.


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