Land system change impacts on European landscapes
Symposium organised by:
Peter Verburg, Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Tobias Kuemmerle, Geographisches Institut, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
This symposium will explore the extent and spatial distribution of land system changes including agricultural abandonment and (peri-) urbanisation through new mapping and observation methods as well as land change models. It will analyse the consequences of land system changes for landscape function and ecosystem services; provide case studies of alternative ways to mitigate or adapt; and consider the role of policy and planning instruments.
European landscapes face fast changes due to abandonment of agriculture; scale-enlargement and intensification of agricultural management and forestry; and the process of (peri-)urbanization. These changes affect the spatial structure and composition of landscapes. In addition, subtle changes in landscapes such as the removal of landscape elements and changing parcel sizes affect landscape character and function. Such more subtle changes are often poorly documented in large-scale data that focus on land cover only.
The capacity of landscapes to provide a range of ecosystem services is also changing upon these changes in land systems. An overview of the extent of these land system changes across the European territory is needed to assess its potential impacts, as well as a deeper understanding of the impacts of these changes and the tradeoffs for both ecology and human well-being.
Understanding the drivers of land system and landscape change can help to design policy and planning interventions targeted at regions with high territorial capital to achieve more synergies between landscape function and the demand for ecosystem services. Achieving such understanding requires new methods to map land system change and its impacts on European landscapes, including methods that go beyond an analysis of land cover change alone, but rather focus on the full land system architecture. This symposium aims at bringing together novel monitoring and mapping methods of land system and landscape change, innovative approaches to analyze changes in landscape function and service provision, as well as studies that propose alternative instruments to avoid the negative impacts of land system change.
A special journal issue may be organized with contributions from the presenters. The discussion of the ways in which scientific insights are translated into alternative instruments to manage landscape that undergo land system changes will feed into policy workshops of related FP7 projects, such as the CLAIM, VOLANTE and OPERAs projects.