Jump to Main Content
Is research keeping up with changes in landscape policy? A review of the literature
- Conrad, Elisabeth, Christie, Mike, Fazey, Ioan
- Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.9 pp. 2097-2108
- development policy, equipment, landscapes, landscape management, methodology, technology, United States, Europe
- Several innovative directions for landscape policy development and implementation have emerged over recent years. These include: (i) an expansion of scope to include all landscape aspects and landscape types, (ii) an increased emphasis on public participation, (iii) a focus on designing measures appropriate for different contexts and scales, and (iv) encouraging support for capacity-building. In this paper, we evaluate the extent to which these policy directions are reflected in the practice of academic landscape research. We evaluate all research papers published in three leading landscape journals over six years, as well as published research papers relating directly to the European Landscape Convention. The latter, which was adopted in 2000, establishes a framework for landscape protection, planning and management in Europe and is to date the only international legal instrument of its kind. Results indicate that whilst policy innovations do not appear to be a major stimulus for academic research, studies nevertheless address a range of landscape aspects, types and scales (albeit with a slight bias towards bio-physical landscape aspects). However, geographical representativeness of research is weak and dominated by the United States and northern/western Europe, and research capacity likewise appears to be unevenly distributed. Landscape research is also limited in the extent to which it involves stakeholders or develops innovative methods for doing so, notwithstanding that this remains a key challenge for policy-makers. Results point to the potential for landscape research to address areas (topical and geographical) which have received little attention to date, as well as suggesting mutual benefits of stronger links between policy and academia.