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Cultural Landscapes BlogWP6: Initiatives all over Europe implement the landscape approach, but they need more commitment from governments, society and markets

WP6: Initiatives all over Europe implement the landscape approach, but they need more commitment from governments, society and markets

2 November 2016/by María García Martín/Tags: integrated landscape initiatives, landscape approach

Few weeks ago (4th October 2016), there was a post in this blog that introduced the landscape approach as a way of governance that is holistic and takes into account all: the biophysical environment, the human processes, and the well-being; an approach that requires the cooperation of different disciplines and sectors. In today’s post, we present how this landscape approach has been captured and implemented by many initiatives all over Europe. We call these initiatives integrated landscape initiatives.
WP6: Initiatives all over Europe implement the landscape approach, but they need more commitment from governments, society and markets

Integrated landscape initiatives are all types of projects, platforms and organisations that, with their activities and based on the active involvement of the community and the collaboration of different stakeholders and sectors at all levels, foster a broad range of landscape values. For example, an initiative that wants to preserve nature, but also improve the rural livelihood conditions of the community that live in that landscape, while fostering the cooperation of different administration bodies, civil associations and the general public; would be considered an integrated landscape initiative.

In 2013, the EcoAgriculture Partners started a series of continental reviews on integrated landscape initiatives, to analyse what motivates them, who take part in them, what they do and what outcomes they achieve. South America and the Caribbean, Africa, and South East Asia have already been reviewed. To join this important task, HERCULES has contributed by performing the European review.

We started in January 2014 collecting all the integrated landscape initiatives we could find through: Google searches, canvassing HERCULES members and other experts and organisations, and a snowball sampling where we asked the initiatives collected to suggest other initiatives they might know. Through this process we collected more than 300 initiatives. This number highlights a shift towards a more holistic approach to landscape management all over Europe. We invited the representatives of the initiatives to a very detailed online survey about their initiatives (their aims, functioning, activities, participants, funding options, success, and challenges).

We found that these initiatives in Europe pursue a great variety of aims, in line with their holistic approach to the territory and the heterogeneity of the landscapes where they act. Nature conservation and cultural heritage enhancement were among the most frequently mentioned ones, but always in combination with many other goals, such as landscape beauty enhancement, rural livelihoods improvement, fostering sense of place and personal fulfilment, improving governance structures, raising awareness, and many others. This variety of aims requires the involvement of different sectors and stakeholders, cooperating at different levels in order to find joint strategies for the landscapes they live in. That way, integrated landscape initiatives act as bridging organisations, mediating between them, building trust and fostering social learning.

But the action of these initiatives alone is not enough. They lack of stable and long term financial possibilities, politic support, and a higher commitment of the society and the markets to make their actions more effective. 

To find out more about integrated landscape initiatives in Europe, their success and the problems they face, read the paper:

María García-Martín, Claudia Bieling, Abigail Hart, and Tobias Plieninger (2016) Integrated landscape initiatives in Europe: Multi-sector collaborationin multi-functional landscapes. Land Use Policy 58: 43–53.


Graph: M. García-Martín et al. / Land Use Policy 58 (2016) 43–53

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The information and views set out in this Cultural Landscapes Blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the HERCULES project nor the European Commission.

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