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The Broken Kilometer
Creating New Habitat and Increased Biodiversity in Sweden

Kevin Benham

The Broken Kilometer

The Broken Kilometer

The restoration project "Sandlife" was developed by The County Administrative Board's Nature Management in Skåne at Natura 2000-areas with EU-funding. At Revingehed the fieldwork for Broken Kilometer was managed by The Swedish Fortifications Agency.


The Avian Kingdom is located in Skåne in southern Sweden. If you stand at the ridge in the town of Harlösa and look south, you can clearly see the old riverbed that is punctuated by Vombsjön, a large lake that feeds the river snaking through the glacial till. This valley, rich in agricultural history, is shared by the Southern Skåne military regiment at Revingehed.

In the past, the Swedish Army would periodically practice maneuvers with tanks over the fragile layer of soil and lay waste to the land. This ecological disturbance actually contributed to the biological diversity of Revingehed, and as a consequence, the area has one of the richest biodiversity in Sweden. The freshly exposed sand banks foster the growth of rare plant species as well as a corresponding influx of rare insects at the margins of the disturbances. The seemingly incompatible operations of the military and agricultural production have actually created an ecosystem that teams with biodiversity.

Recently, military operations at Revingehed have decreased and there have been fewer ecological disturbances. As a response to this, I, Kevin Benham, worked collaboratively with ÅRNA i Fågelriket (Art and Nature) and the project Sandlife to create the land art project called "Broken Kilometer." This land work, a kilometer long cut in the earth that is broken into ten sections, celebrates the tradition of land art while simultaneously fostering increased biodiversity and a greater relationship between these disparate entities.

This earthwork, which is the width of a Swedish tank and a total of a kilometer in length, acts simultaneously as a piece of art and a catalyst for increased biodiversity. The piece is also temporal and will continue to dissipate over time as the exposed soil becomes occupied with fresh herbaceous material. Over a period of time, the piece will disappear and will only exist as a trace of the original act of manipulating the land.

Written by Kevin Benham, MLA, Louisiana State University



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September 20, 2018, 6:23 am PDT

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