Community inhabitants’ place-based landscape services in dynamic tropical forest landscapes – participation and spatial analysis in landscape knowledge integration

Authors and Affiliations: 

Fagerholm, Nora

Geography Division, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Turku, Finland

Käyhkö, Niina

Geography Division, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Turku, Finland

Ndumbaro, Festo

Department of Geography, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Evaluation of landscape services (Termorshuizen and Opdam 2009) essentially deals with the complex and dynamic relationships between humans and their environment. When it comes to landscape management and the evaluation of the benefits these services provide for our well-being, there is a limited representation of stakeholder and intangible values on the land. Stakeholder knowledge is essential, since disciplinary expert evaluations and existing proxy data on landscape services can reveal little of the landscape benefits to the local stakeholders. Moreover, there seems to be an obvious gap in linking the overall changes in land uses and land cover patterns to local actors and their multiple landscape benefits. On a local scale, these landscape changes relate closely to the values and preferences which people set on different land use strategies. It can be stated that landscape governance is a typical example where stakeholder participation is needed in a spatial form (Raquez & Lambin 2006). Recently, there has been a growing enthusiasm concerning pursuing participation through the use of GIS (participatory GIS, PGIS) to create spatially sensitive local knowledge and to complement the expert-based landscape analysis (e.g. Brown 2005, Raymond et al. 2009).

In this presentation we will address landscape management challenges in the context of subsistence-based communities in Zanzibar (Tanzania), where land and forest resources are used extensively for supporting community livelihoods and threatened by economic uses and agricultural expansion. With Zanzibari case study, we will exemplify how participatory mapping of community inhabitants’ landscape services, their description and spatial analysis generate place-based local knowledge (Fagerholm et al. 2012). In addition, we have analysed the dynamics of forested land cover over the last 50 years in relation to these farmers’ material and non-material landscape benefits.

Our results show that spatially sensitive local knowledge, especially on the material landscape services, create the prerequisites for the interpretation of landscape dynamics analysed through retrospective LC/LU mapping and change detection analysis. The non-material and cultural landscape services mapped by the stakeholders enrich the interpretation of the community-forest interaction.

Our study implies that integration of expert and local knowledge of landscapes through spatial analysis and participation has potential to enhance spatial argumentation about the complex socio-ecological interactions in landscapes. It is also necessary in order to capture the non-utilitarian value of landscapes and sensitivity to cultural landscape services. We argue that an integrated spatial perspective is fundamental since it allows local-level, spatially specific discussions between stakeholders and has potential to create improved premises for landscape planning and management.


Brown, G. (2005). Mapping spatial attributes in survey research for natural resource management: methods and applications. Society & Natural Resources 18, 17−39.

Fagerholm, N., N. Käyhkö, F. Ndumbaro & M. Khamis (2012). Community stakeholders’ knowledge in landscape assessments – Mapping indicators for landscape services. Ecological Indicators 18, 421–433.

Termorshuizen, J.W. & P. Opdam (2009). Landscape services as a bridge between landscape ecology and sustainable development. Landscape Ecology 24, 1037–1052.

Raquez, P. & E.F. Lambin (2006). Conditions for a sustainable land use: case study evidence. Journal of Land Use Science 1, 109–125.

Raymond, C.M., B.A. Bryan, D.H. MacDonald, A. Cast, S. Strathearn, A. Grandgirard & T. Kalivas (2009). Mapping community values for natural capital and ecosystem services. Ecological Economics 68, 1301–1315.