Studying long-term changes in cultural landscapes: outlines of a research framework and protocol

Carole L. Crumley, Jan C.A. Kolen*, Maurice de Kleijn, Niels van Manen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Applied historical landscape research often takes place under the umbrella of sustainability issues and sustainability research, but now includes both environmental sustainability and community resilience. This confronts the study of cultural landscapes with new issues and challenges such as how to utilize long-term and more recent perspectives, and to integrate economic, cultural and ecological drivers of landscape change. A key question is how to make landscape studies relevant for both contemporary landscape services and future landscape changes. We propose a new framework for study that combines insights from landscape biography, historical ecology and systems theory. It presents a ‘protocol’ for exploratory research with premises and operational principles, and argues for geodesign in connecting environmental issues, heritage practices and question-driven historical analysis. The framework and protocol are based on recent research within the European Community’s Seventh Framework project Sustainable Futures for Europe’s Heritage in Cultural Landscapes (HERCULES).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-890
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2017


The research for this article was supported by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme for project HERCULES (;603447). Additionally, this manuscript is a contribution to the Integrated History of People on Earth (IHOPE) initiative and the Leiden University Research Dossier ‘Keeping the planet liveable: insights and solutions for now and the future’(

FundersFunder number
European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme
Seventh Framework Programme603447


    • Cultural landscape
    • long-term change
    • research protocol
    • sustainability


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