Project

The "Sustainable Futures for Europe's Heritage in Cultural Landscapes" project (HERCULES) seeks to empower public and private actors to protect and sustainably manage cultural landscapes that possess significant cultural, socio-economic, historical, natural and archaeological value, at a local, national and Pan-European level.

Funded through the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) of the EU, the project assembles 13 partners from European Universities and research institutes, small and medium-sized enterprises and non-governmental organisations to develop a holistic approach that incorporates diverse stakeholder perspectives to appropriately address landscape changes. While the adoption of the European Landscape Convention (ELC) has attracted much attention from the sciences, policy makers and the general public, cultural landscapes are in need of further action to ensure their continued existence.

The project starts by assessing and synthesizing the existing knowledge on the dynamics, drivers, patterns and outcomes of cultural landscapes and the transformations they are subjected to. This is done to enable the development of management tools for landscape observation and modelling and to shed light on the opportunities and threats relating to cultural landscapes. The HERCULES project then provides a strong and unified vision of "pathways" toward protecting heritage in cultural landscapes, which provide policy makers and practitioners with up to date information to guide effective decision making.

The insights, technologies and strategies developed throughout the project are rigorously applied in five to six regional study landscapes, selected to ensure a balanced representation of environmental and land use gradients within Europe. The study landscapes represent diverse European cultural landscapes, ranging from outstanding "flagship" to "ordinary" landscapes.

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