Active Local Participation for landscape monitoring: research and practical experiences in and around ELC Landscape Observatories

Frederica Larcher, Dept. Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin (Italy),

Claudia Cassatella, Interuniversity Department of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino,

Marco Devecchi, Dept. Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin (Italy), Representative of the Association of Landscape Observatories in Piedmont,

Bas Pedroli, Wageningen University & Research / UNISCAPE Director,

Dirk Gotzmann, CIVILSCAPE Director,


The symposium focusses on Active Local Participation for Landscape Monitoring. We consider that daily and site-specific monitoring practices are the most effective tool for avoiding landscape decline. Researches in landscape monitoring based on people’s direct involvement are not yet sufficiently discussed and tested. The aim is to discuss on the landscape monitoring topic collecting the latest research and practical experiences in and around the concept of Landscape Observatories. The involvement of scientists and local stakeholders will enhance a vivid discussion in order to promote interdisciplinary and bottom-up approaches in landscape research.


The symposium is born under the auspice of UNISCAPE and CIVILSCAPE networks with the scientific coordination of University and Politecnico of Turin (Italy). Scientists and civil society representatives are directly involved in the organization and the selection of contributions in order to guarantee the interdisciplinary and bottom-up approach.

"Landscape observatories, centres and institutes" (LO) are the basic concept around which the symposium will be developed. LO are recommended as key instruments for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (ELC). Their mission is to study and monitor the landscapes dynamics, and to facilitate the collection, production and exchange of information and study protocols between states and local communities (see the Recommendation on the Guidelines for the implementation of the ELC, CM/Rec (2008)3 Appendix 1, 10; II.3.3).

Since 2013 the Landscape Observatories Documentation Project (LOD) ( has been carried out in order to understand how active local participation can be included in landscape monitoring, planning and management. In Europe, the current situation presents a large diversity in centers for landscape observation, at various territorial levels (national, regional, local), established by institutional bodies as much as by civil society. Also, the aims, the target groups, the means and the working methods of the various landscape observatories, centers and institutes vary widely. Local Ecomuseums and visitor centers, national reference centers and many other forms of exchange on landscape dynamics could qualify for the denotation ‘Landscape Observatory’. At this stage about 70 ELC LOs in Europe have been listed but many other initiatives can be addressed regarding different forms of stakeholder involvement for monitoring both outstanding and ordinary landscapes. We consider that daily and site-specific monitoring practices are the most effective tool for avoiding landscape decline. Our interest is to provide common evidence on the importance of active local participation in landscape monitoring, discussing in and around the LO concept. Furthermore, transdisciplinary research including stakeholder involvement aimed at landscape monitoring are welcome.

The best abstracts will be selected for the symposium and a special issue in a peer-reviewed international journal is planned.

What can participants expect to learn?

All participants will be informed about the latest research concerning the bottom-up landscape monitoring methods and results in Europe. The implementation of the Landscape Observatories network would be promoted. Furthermore, discussing the multidisciplinary current European landscape monitoring experiences and active local participation would be useful for future projects and research initiatives (COST Actions, H2020, …) 


We expect to collect a good number of scientific papers in order to organize a special issue for an international peer review journal. After the abstracts selection, we will contact a scientific Journal and manage the publishing process. We are already in contact with the Landscape Research Journal.

We will prepare a summary of the symposium for the conference outcomes.