What is it?
Some plants and animals have great symbolic value. They may appear on a flag or emblem, for example, like the yellow pond lily featured on the flag of Friesland. Other plants with symbolic value include the pink dianthus and the mountain pansy, which are closely associated with Vechtdal and Geuldal, respectively. When we think of the Veluwe, we automatically think of stags, and we link beavers to the Biesbosch. People all over the world regard the dove as a symbol of peace. The natural cycle of life and death – as represented by a falling leaf, for example – has symbolic significance as well.
In many cases, the symbolic significance of plants and animals can be traced back to classical Greece or Rome. The sustainable management of nature is very important for the retention of nature's symbolic value.
In real life
The symbolic value of plants, animals, landscapes and seascapes isn't necessarily linked exclusively with the particular species or places that serve as symbols. Often, a single species represents a whole region, the way of life there and the way the region is maintained. The Veluwe stag is a representation not only of the local deer population, but also of the extensive forests and the quiet, spacious landscape, for example. To some extent, the symbolic value of nature is protected by policy and rules on nature management and on plant and animal species (e.g. Natura2000). Symbolic species can have considerable (economic) value to the recreation industry and the hotel and catering trade. Businesses in those sectors frequently use the animals and plants in question to promote themselves.
No practical examples are currently available.
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