Exploring ecosystem-change and society through a landscape lens: Recent progress in European landscape research

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Tobias Plieninger, Thanasis Kizos, Claudia Bieling, Laurence Le Dû-Blayo, Marie Alice Budniok, Matthias Bürgi, Carole L. Crumley, Geneviève Girod, Pip Howard, Jan Kolen, Tobias Kuemmerle, Grega Milcinski, Hannes Palang, Kathrin Trommler, Peter H. Verburg

Landscapes are closely linked to human well-being, but they are undergoing rapid and fundamental change. Understanding the societal transformation underlying these landscape changes, as well as the ecological and societal outcomes of landscape transformations across scales are prime areas for landscape research. We review and synthesize findings from six important areas of landscape research in Europe and discuss how these findings may advance the study of ecosystem change and society and its thematic key priorities. These six areas are: (1) linkages between people and the environment in landscapes, (2) landscape structure and land-use intensity, (3) long-term landscape history, (4) driving forces, processes, and actors of landscape change, (5) landscape values and meanings, and (6) landscape stewardship. We propose that these knowledge areas can contribute to the study of ecosystem change and society, considering nested multiscale dynamics of social-ecological systems; the stewardship of these systems and their ecosystem services; and the relationships between ecosystem services, human well-being, wealth, and poverty. Our synthesis highlights that knowledge about past and current landscape patterns, processes, and dynamics provides guidance for developing visions to support the sustainable stewardship of social-ecological systems under future conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalEcology and Society
Volume20
Issue number2
ISSN1708-3087
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

ID: 143348993