The idea behind

The European Land-use Institute

Landscapes are complex systems that can only be understood if multidisciplinary cooperation is established. Applied landscape research, dealing with landscape functions, ecosystem services and land management, integrates actors from diverse backgrounds, e. g. policy makers, land use planners or ecosystem managers. The societal demand for transparent, participative, and integrated concepts has increased dramatically in the past, since there is a growing public awareness for effects of land management and global to regional policies on environmental and economic systems.

Knowledge of landscape processes is a crucial part of analyzing and predicting landscape dynamics under influence of society. However, any prediction of landscape dynamics is uncertain, since (i) the prediction of driving forces, e.g. climate change, changing world markets, have a high uncertainty and (ii) direction and magnitude of related landscape processes are uncertain. Even if there are excellent data bases of (environmental) data, access is often limited, data bases are scattered and transfer to the landscape scale is mostly missing. For analysis of data landscape research uses frequently indicator systems to assess the effects of human activities and natural processes on landscape functions. However, the great number of indicators for different environments, compartments, land use or scales causes problems to harmonize and transfer indicators in terms of scales, sectors and regions.

Valley of the river Elbe in Saxon Switzerland
Valley of the river Elbe in Saxon Switzerland

Land managers, land planners and policy makers are facing an increasing number of rules, regulations and directives, reflecting the multiple interests in landscapes. Their realization is often hindered, since there is a mismatch between the real situation on the regional to local scale and the basic idea of rules, often developed in national or international context. To make the situation worse, many of the approaches applied on landscape level are sectoral without integrating effects on other sectors and very complex and focused on the sector, thus hard to understand for non-experts. Though, involvement of many disciplines is a necessary precondition to understand complex landscape systems a complication arises from isolated and sometimes contradicting approaches of disciplines involved.

The European Land-use Institute will support a landscape focused approach that The European Land-use Institute (ELI) will provide an efficient and powerful platform in Europe to coordinate and realize applied landscape research.