Landscape management assessment

Guidelines for landscape management, built within HERCULES project, were meant to propose a valuation model that could include both stakeholders’ engagement and landscape integrated management dynamics.

On first step, European landscape innovative initiatives were collected both from local and expert knowledge, included two entries:

  • Local stakeholders’ knowledge has been collected through 3 series of local workshops, on HERCULES study landscapes,
  • Heritage initiatives have been collected at European scale, with selection of 20 most significant upon 165 initial, using the method of expert assessment.

A second step procedure allowed us then to sort concrete examples of collected initiatives through a global frame based on 12 issues addressing six sustainability variables (from ISO 37101 toolbox – Management system for sustainable development in communities).

It is essential to understand that there is no such thing as policy measures that could be recommended in every European cultural landscape. As a result, governance solutions must be applied in context, and heritage conservation needs to be holistic, taking into account the human factors at work in the landscape as well as biophysical aspects.

To assess those at landscape scale, it was thus found possible to test a qualitative Landscape Management Assessment frame, useful both to assess risks and opportunities and to be accountable to local actors, and built upon questions interconnecting ecological and socio-cultural issues.

At plot size, Landscape Ecological Diagnostic aims to be a valuation model that could assess biodiversity on cultural landscapes, with an “eco-anthropological” approach using the functions of landscape structures, to qualify site biodiversity load and serve sustainable land use management.

Try our Landscape Management Assessment

Try our Landscape Ecological Diagnostic

Along the coast, Peipsi lake

Cultural landscapes and community identity

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Culture and community identity are essential to preserve lifestyles, including intangibles such as practices, know-how, languages, spirituality and customs, while allowing or even encouraging the evolution of heritage and traditions (source ISO DIS 37101).

European Heritage Days were held in september 2014 on the theme « Cultural heritage, natural heritage ». HERCULES was part of this theme with the organization of events in each of the five program areas of study. For example, in Modbury, South West Devon, a trail was organized to reconnect people to the land through a discovery of heritage trees. All other Cultural Landscape Days organized through HERCULES shall be reported in D8.4.

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‘Cultural trees in the landscape’, Modbury, UK, (source Pip Howard)

Kodavere, other SL in Estonia is a part of Sibulatee (Onion Route), which is a set of tourism enterprises situated by Lake Peipsi. The name of it comes from the traditional vegetable gardening of the locals. Growing onions and garlic (also other vegetables) is traditional in Kodavere area, especially on the shores of Lake Peipsi. This is mostly done where grain cultivation is impossible by Russian Old Believers, a distinctive group of people by Lake Peipsi.

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Contrasting heritage between Russian old believers’ house and vegetable gardens (left), and Estonian traditional house and orchard (right, photos Geneviève Girod)

In Colmenar Viejo, there are three main festive traditions that date back to the middle ages, and that are anually organised by the municipality in close collaboration with the local community. The first one is the anual pilgrimage to a rural chappel, which is one of the main identity icons for Colmenar Viejo’s inhabitatns (religous or not). The other two are linked to pagan traditions to wellcome the spring session and to remember the wild stock farming past of the village. These three traditions have a very strong relation with the cultural landscapes of the area, and are very important to foster the sense of place and community for the people living in the municipality.

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Heritage valuation through Photography (source Maria Garcia Martin)

Sperrins Gateway Landscape Partnership brings communities together to create a shared vision for the conservation and management of Sperrins landscape and heritage. It helps around 20 projects, and develop a high quality, integrated, sustainably managed and well-utilised walking trail network, including an audio trail, that enhances the health and well-being of local people and visitors by providing improved access throughout the Sperrins Gateway. These trails enable people to appreciate the distinctive heritage features and character of the Sperrins Gateway landscape through increased access and interpretation and encourage an improvement to health and well-being through outdoor recreation provision.

SAVE Foundation link agrobiodiversity to identity and part of the local culture. Agrobiodiversity is not only an essential part of biodiversity, but also an essential instrument for rural development in marginal areas, especially in areas of special environmental value like traditional Agro Eco Systems (TAES). In those areas, conservation of Agro-Biodiversity is an option for the local people to improve their income and for sustainable landscape management.

‘ENtopia – Our Places in Europe’ was presented during HERCULES 2nd EU level workshop, and is a European project promoted by Europa Nostra to solicit applications and participation from smaller towns and villages across Europe with the aim to define a “Future Vision for Sustainable Settlement” and to implement qualitative norms for good places to live in and enjoy. This project is not an “Award Scheme” but rather an “Incentive Scheme” which seeks to encourage and endorse smaller towns and villages and their local authorities and communities to work towards their sustainable futures through identifying and celebrating their cultural and environmental qualities and assets.

There are many other examples that are figured on the knowledge hub, thus heritage landscape approach appeared to be very consistent with the recognition of cultural and identity services.

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