R1. Landscape Approaches in the Mediterranean region – bridging landscape science and practice

José Muñoz-Rojas (University of Évora), jmrojas@uevora.pt

Emilie Smith-Dumont (University of Évora; Bangor University)

Teresa Pinto-Correia (University of Évora)


Landscape approaches aim to reconcile agriculture, nature and competing land-uses. Its relevance has been recognized for tropical regions, but not as much in the Mediterranean, which is also a hotspot for biodiversity facing key climate change, ecological and socio-demographic challenges. This symposium will act as a forum for addressing the following questions: (i) what principles of a Landscape Approach are relevant to the key challenges in the Mediterranean?, (ii) what lessons can be drawn from experiences of Landscape Approaches in the region?, and (iii) what prospects for advancing strategically?


Integrative Landscape Approaches have risen over the past few decades, aiming at the integration of the ecological, cultural and productive components of land management and planning. Their main objectives focus on the reconcilement of agricultural production, nature conservation and competing land-uses. Ultimately, they are expected to contribute to help meet global, regional and local sustainability goals. To achieve this, multiple Landscape Approaches are being tested aimed at setting landscape restoration targets, strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and for biodiversity convservation. Furthermore, they are also being advocated as more effective procedures for the coordination and cooperation of different actors and institutions that are frequently bounded by competing interests over land-use decisions.

As a framework to help operationalize Landscape Approaches more consistently, ten principles have been identified. So far, these principles have been applied and tested over a number of case studies, a vast majority of which are located in Tropical areas and developing countries. This is largely due to the work of international development agencies that have joined efforts under the Global Landscapes Forum (https://www.globallandscapesforum.org). The main reason for such focus on tropical areas is the urgent need to tackle wicked processes of deforestation and related complex social-ecological effects. Despite the few critiques identified, Landscape Approaches are resulting in valuable lessons that suggest they ought to be of use across many different contexts. This could well be the case of the Mediterranean region, which is a hotspot for biodiversity, climate change and socio-demographics. Indeed, it is also a region where the key aims defined for Landscape Approaches tightly align with the challenges currently being faced.

In response, this symposium will invite contributions responding to the following questions:

  1. What are the key aspects of a Landscape Approaches that may render them adequate for tackling key challenges in the Mediterranean?
  2. What are the valuable experiences of applying Landscape Approaches in the region?
  3. What are the potential pathways forward, and also the barriers, for advancing towards the implementation of Landscape Approaches in the Mediterranean region, bridging together research and practice?


Expected outputs will include:

  1. A Special Issue in a specialized scientific journal with high impact (Land Use Policy, Landscape Ecology, Sustainability Science, Landscape and Urban Planning or Landscape Research), targeting papers in the symposium, and also if needed, other joint papers, other authors and studies.
  2. A working/discussion group within IALE-Europe, specifically targeting Landscape Approaches. This working group shall not be constrained to the Mediterranean context, but rather use the discussion and lessons from this region as a starting point for expanding across the rest of Europe as well.