Sustainable land management in a European context

Thomas Weith, Tim Barkman, Nadin Gaasch et al. (eds.), 2022. Sustainable Land Management in a European Context. A Co-Design Approach. Springer Nature. 350 pp. Open access: -3- 030 -50841-8. ISBN 978 3 030 50841 8 (eBook)

Recently a new book was published in the Springer Nature Series Sustainable land management in a European context: a co-design approach. The book presents and discusses current issues and innovative approaches for land management in a European context. The book highlights co-design processes within the “co-creation of knowledge”, involving collaboration in transdisciplinary research processes between academics from different disciplines and other societal stakeholders to address highly complex real-world problems. The authors are drawing on their experience in sustainable land management gained from seven years of the FONA programme (Research for Sustainable Development, conducted under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Therefore, many authors are also from western Europe, particularly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The book shows how land use science has evolved into a transdisciplinary science since the abiotic system, initially the object of study, is insufficient in the “anthropocene” era. A better understanding of human drivers and needs for planning is essential to address the manifold sustainability issues closely interconnected with land use practices. Therefore, several chapters also deal with socioecological systems, which are key to a better understanding of the complex multitiered human-environmental relationships. The concept helps us to relate landscape to sustainability, ecosystem services and land use functions. The book also presents an overview of the process of landscape change in Europe, the current state of landscape change research, and the main findings and methodological challenges therein. It summarises the research findings of recent European research projects and the new insights of landscape science. One of its conclusions is that landscape multifunctionality will require major interventions across Europe with measures that need to be finetuned according to environmental characteristics and cultural demands. This is something we very much experience now with major international tasks related to the production of raw materials, food and energy, while at the same time addressing climate change and maintaining biodiversity. Academics need to identify strategies that will meet society’s demands without further degrading European landscapes. The book is useful for its presentation of recent developments in the field of land and landscape science. It explores the various new concepts that have evolved, like socioecological systems, holistic systems and nature-based solutions, and links these with and relates them to our practice of landscape planning or research. It is great that this resource is freely available for anyone who is interested in the subject.


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