José Muñoz-Rojas, WSL, ICAAM-Universidade de Évora, email@example.com
Teresa Pinto-Correia, ICAAM-Universidade de Évora, firstname.lastname@example.org
Per Angelstam, School for Forest Management, Faculty of Forest Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Per.email@example.com
Marine Elbakidze, School for Forest Management, Faculty of Forest Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Marine.firstname.lastname@example.org
Diaz-Maroto, Ignacio J., University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, email@example.com
Ecosystem Services aim to embed ecological goals onto political-economic decisions. However, they fail to capture the complexity in social-ecological interactions, leading to fragmented land-use decision-making and valuation. Consideration of landscape´s multiple dimensions represents a pathway forward. This symposium will discuss the advantages and limitations of the concept of landscape and landscape ecology, to facilitate the contribution of the Ecosystem Services framework towards devising holistic territorial approaches that can underpin sustainability by better linking together pattern, processes and people.
Ecosystem Services are defined as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. This concept has the potential to drive a paradigmatic shift in land-use decision making via governance, management and planning (Albert et al, 2014; Förster et al, 2015). Ecosystem Services are nowadays considered as the key framework to embed ecological goals onto political-economic decisions. However, this concept has been challenged by critiques of scientific, operational and ideological nature (Norgaard, 2010; Hauck et al, 2013; Jax et al, 2013). A key critique is the decoupling of the natural and human dimensions of land-use, and the neglect of landscape stewardship challenges that are inherent to the Ecosystem Services framework (Schröter et al, 2014).
This is most relevant for territories where ecological and cultural values are considered relevant due to their long and rich human history, such as cultural landscapes spanning from the Mediterranean (Blondel, 2006) to the boreal biomes (Sporrong, 1998). Europe is indeed a continent where the cultural, natural and social components of the territory, including traditional landscape stewardship approaches, are inextricably inter-linked. This has resulted in a rich and diverse mosaic of land-use systems that is however declining. Furthermore, these three territorial aspects, cultural, natural and social, are coincident with the three pillars in the definition of Landscapes by the European Landscape Convention (EC, 1999), and also with the frameworks of sustainable development and social-ecological resilience, both of which underpin territorial strategic governance in Europe (EC, 2011).
We thus argue that landscapes, as coupled social-ecological systems, underpin the multiple services, values and benefits arising from the complex interactions between European Societies and their natural and cultural environments, with landscape ecology potentially providing with the theoretical basis for integrated territorial approaches. However, knowledge co-production ought to be sought by engaging with scientists in other relevant disciplines and also with other key stakeholders operating at different scales.
Consequently, this symposium will foster discussions on the opportunities to combine the Ecosystem Service and landscape concepts into a conceptual and operational tool to disentangle the complex territorial relations between humans and nature across Europe (Bastian et al, 2014). Furthermore, we would like to extend this discussion to all relevant integrative territorial frameworks for land-use decision making, including landscape stewardship, that show potential to enhancing sustainable development and social-ecological resilience. Ultimately, we expect that discussion will advance in the generation of new knowledge that is useful to disentangle more effective pathways to combine pattern and process with people and action.
We welcome submission of papers using both theoretical and empirical approaches looking at advancing either (or various) of the following research questions:
- What is the scope for the landscape concept to resolve key challenges and barriers in the Ecosystem Services framework that may hinder land-use decision-making towards sustainable development and resilience?
- Which are the main territorial challenges in the European context that can be addressed by integrating the Ecosystem Services framework and the Landscape concept towards holistic land-use decision making?
- How useful are Integrative territorial frameworks to generate more effective models for European land-use decision making that better integrate social and ecological systems?
- What are the barriers and bridges to integrate researchers’ and practitioners’ knowledge production; especially in relation to landscape approaches?
What can participants expect to learn?
Those presenting and attending this symposium are expected to benefit from the following learning objectives:
- Advancing knowledge on the potential of integrating Ecosystem Services and the concept of Landscape towards integrative territorial frameworks aimed to improve land-use decision-making and to better link pattern and process with people,
- Learning from exemplary case studies across Europe that have successfully applied territorial frameworks underpinned by objectives of sustainability and resilience,
- Becoming actively involved in the creation of a European network of researchers (and practitioners) developing integrative territorial and landscape approaches.
A communication strategy is envisaged consisting of the following points:
- The symposium will be structured in three sub-sessions; a first one focusing on 8 key-note oral presentations (12 minutes each) addressing the three main questions posed for discussion, a poster sub-session featuring specific regional case studies, and a discussion group setting a working group linked to IALE-Europe.
- A special issue in the Journal of Landscape Ecology will be promoted. This special issue will contain a paper on each of the key-note oral presentations, plus selected papers from the posters and contributors to the discussion group.
- The working group shall be open to all members of IALE-Europe and to any others interested, also including actors in decision making arenas.