Collaborative research for the European Landscape Convention

Symposium organised by:

Bas Pedroli, UNISCAPE / Wageningen University, Netherlands.

Peter Bezak, Landscape Europe / Institute of Landscape Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia.


This symposium will discuss the practical experience with collaborative research approaches in issues of landscape planning and management. The relevance of these approaches – including a range of methods, from action research and knowledge brokerage to social learning and institutional change – for sustainable and equitable landscape development will be discussed.


Debates on the interaction between science and policy regarding the European landscape have been regularly organised and promoted in the last years by the Landscape Europe and UNISCAPE networks. Recently such debates were held in Stresa in 2007, Florence in 2010, Brussels in 2011, in Smolenice in 2012. They were attended by policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders, ready to enhance the impact of landscape research on European policy and society and at the same time to increase awareness of the radical changes occurring in the European landscape.

The policy context for the symposium is given by ratification of the European Landscape Convention by 37 states, and is strongly emphasised by the ESF-COST Science-Policy Briefing No 41 (Landscape in a changing world. Bridging Divides, Integrating Disciplines, Serving Society). Still, it remains a challenge to implement the European Landscape Convention, because of the inherent complexity and diversity of the European landscape and the lack of focussed policies. The debates held thus far indicate that more integrative approaches of research should be developed.

The symposium will answer the following questions. How can research influence landscape decision making? What are the necessary tools and procedures for genuine involvement of society in landscape research, and of knowledge (both lay and expert knowledge) in landscape governance? What kind of landscape expertise must be available to seriously enhance a desirable future of the European landscape?

Recent examples of concrete landscape research will illustrate gaps in decision-making and planning practice across Europe and demonstrate the value of collaborative research approaches in landscape protection, planning and management.


The symposium will strengthen the interaction with policy-makers in considering the opportunities of collaborative landscape research in planning and management. A special issue of Land Use Policy is envisaged to communicate the common targets and procedures discussed in the symposium and as such contribute to the objectives of the European Landscape Forum – AGORA.

Oral presentations