European landscapes

We are all aware of changing landscapes. Changes are caused by complex and inter-related drivers including climate change, demand for renewable energy, migration, urbanisation and the need for food security. There is an increasing demand for multifunctional landscapes that deliver ecosystem services to support human needs, whilst protecting biodiversity and cultural heritage.

New research and policy is needed in response to the European Landscape Convention, EU Water Framework Directive, EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Adaptation Strategy. There is an increasing need for trans-disciplinary research to reconcile competing demands on European landscapes. There is a particular need for integrated landscape objectives to be developed with the genuine involvement of the people who care for and live in the landscape.

Landscape ecology is the study of interactions, across space and time, between the structure and function of physical, biological and cultural components of landscapes; marine, freshwater, and on land. Landscape ecology integrates natural and social sciences and is well placed to play a key role in planning for the future of changing European landscapes.

The congress examined how and why European landscapes are changing and how landscape ecology can help us to plan for the future at local to global scales. It considered local projects alongside international programmes and provided many opportunities for researchers, policy makers and practitioners to interact.

Changing European Landscapes explored all aspects of landscape ecology, encouraging interaction between researchers and policy-makers from different disciplines. Each symposium included presentations and opportunities for discussion.