Priority questions for the science, policy and practice of cultural landscapes in Europe

Monica Hernandez-Morcillo, Claudia Bieling, Matthias Burgi, Juraj Lieskovsky, Hannes Palang, Anu Printsmann, Catharina J. E. Schulp, Peter H. Verburg, Tobias Plieninger

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: The design of effective responses to safeguard cultural landscape values in Europe needs collaborative action among the stakeholders involved. Despite considerable progress triggered by the European Landscape Convention (ELC) and other initiatives to link landscape science, policy and practice, a joint research–action agenda is still lacking. Objectives and methods: We respond to this challenge by identifying common priority questions for the sustainable management of cultural landscapes in Europe. To this end, we gathered, in a first phase, the most relevant research questions through a Delphi-like process with the research community in this field. In a second phase, the questions were prioritized by three stakeholder groups: scientists (Ss), policy-makers (PMs) and practitioners (Ps). The importance ranks and the similarity between groups’ priorities were calculated and analyzed. Results: We found that the research question that addressed the issue of how to secure sustainable cultural landscapes where they are not economically profitable was the most important, with high level of agreement among all stakeholders. Alignment among the three groups was generally high; being higher between Ps–Ss and Ps–PMs than between Ss and PMs. Conclusions: Our exercise can assist the implementation of the ELC by outlining the potential direction of future applied research and by strengthening the ties between the multiple stakeholders involved in the stewardship of European cultural landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2096
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • European Landscape Convention (ELC)
  • Joint action-research agenda
  • Landscape stakeholders
  • Research questions
  • Science-policy interface
  • Transdisciplinarity


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