New Book: The Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship

edited by Claudia Bieling & Tobias Plieninger (

Improving the dynamic relationship between nature and human well-being is a pressing issue of our time. Landscapes embody this tight interconnectedness and serve as unique sustainability learning hubs, showcased by the global rise of place-based and holistic landscape stewardship initiatives. Incorporating these exciting developments, this book explores the principles of landscape stewardship and their function in fields such as agriculture, ecological restoration and urban green infrastructure. It provides insights into the challenges and the potential of landscape stewardship and identifies future paths for the science and practice of landscape-related sustainability efforts. Aligning analytical perspectives with practical applications, it brings together contributions from leading scholars and innovative models of landscape stewardship from all around the world, making it an essential resource for anyone interested in developing sustainable human-nature relationships.

Cross-site analysis of perceived ecosystem service benefits in multifunctional landscapes

by Nora Fagerholm; Mario Torralba; Gerardo Moreno; Marco Girardello; Felix Herzog; Stephanie Aviron; Paul Burgess, Josep Crous-Duran; Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez; Anil Graves; Tibor Hartel; Vlad Măcicăsan; Sonja Kay; Anastasia Pantera; Anna Vargan; Tobias Plieninger (

Rural development policies in many Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries promote sustainable landscape management with the intention of providing multiple ecosystem services (ES). Yet, it remains unclear which ES benefits are perceived in different landscapes and by different people. We present an assessment of ES benefits perceived and mapped by residents (n = 2,301) across 13 multifunctional (deep rural to peri-urban) landscapes in Europe. We identify the most intensively perceived ES benefits, their spatial patterns, and the respondent and landscape characteristics that determine ES benefit perception. We find outdoor recreation, aesthetic values and social interactions are the key ES benefits at local scales. Settlement areas are ES benefit hotspots but many benefits are also related to forests, waters and mosaic landscapes. We find some ES benefits (e.g. culture and heritage values) are spatially clustered, while many others (e.g. aesthetic values) are dispersed. ES benefit perception is linked to people’s relationship with and accessibility to a landscape. Our study discusses how a local perspective can contribute to the development of contextualized and socially acceptable policies for sustainable ES management. We also address conceptual confusion in ES framework and present argumentation regarding the links from services to benefits, and from benefits to different types of values.

Rewilding complex ecosystems

by Andrea Perino; Henrique M. Pereira; Laetitia M. Navarro; Néstor Fernández; James M. Bullock; Silvia Ceausu; Ainara Cortés-Avizanda; Roel van Klink; Tobias Kuemmerle; Angela Lomba; Guy Pe'er; Tobias Plieninger; José M. Rey Benayas; Christopher J. Sandom; Jens-Christian Svenning & Helen C. Wheeler (

The practice of rewilding has been both promoted and criticized in recent years. Benefits include flexibility to react to environmental change and the promotion of opportunities for society to reconnect with nature. Criticisms include the lack of a clear conceptualization of rewilding, insufficient knowledge about possible outcomes, and the perception that rewilding excludes people from landscapes. Here, we present a framework for rewilding that addresses these concerns. We suggest that rewilding efforts should target trophic complexity, natural disturbances, and dispersal as interacting processes that can improve ecosystem resilience and maintain biodiversity. We propose a structured approach to rewilding projects that includes assessment of the contributions of nature to people and the social-ecological constraints on restoration.

Designing spatiotemporal multifunctional landscapes to support dynamic wildlife conservation

by Alexander K. Killion; Adam Dixon; Jessica Gilbert; Mario Torralba; Patrick T. Greiner & Arnold P. Behrer (

With a growing human population, we are faced with the challenge of managing limited spaces for multiple social and environmental needs. Identifying opportunities to align social and environmental needs is thus a transdisciplinary design challenge. To meet this task, we present the concept of spatiotemporal multifunctionality (i.e. the provisioning of more than one human or environmental function in a given place at different times) and demonstrate how integrating principles of landscape ecology, social-ecological systems, and land system architecture enables a dynamic approach to landscape design and planning. Such an integration is capable of providing conservation tools for diverse social-ecological systems to maximize spatiotemporal multifunctionality. We use migratory birds as a working example to present a dynamic conservation opportunity and related challenges. By adding a temporal component to land-use classification in areas of high human use, we demonstrate the potential to enhance land-system sustainability and promote human-wildlife coexistence in a changing world.