Capable to govern landscape restoration? Exploring landscape governance capabilities, based on literature and stakeholder perceptions

Cora van Oosten*, Hens Runhaar, Bas Arts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars, planners and practitioners worldwide are increasingly recognising that landscape governance is a promising approach for restoring forested landscapes and simultaneously achieving ecological, economic and social objectives. Because of its integrative nature, landscape governance involves actors who restore landscapes while operating in different economic and policy sectors and at various scales. Consequently, the governance of landscape restoration is typically associated with multi-stakeholder dialogue and negotiation on the different types and forms of restoration, and what these mean in terms of necessary trade-offs. In this article we consider landscape governance to be an indispensable element of landscape restoration that deserves specific attention in the restoration debate. Despite the growing body of literature on the challenges faced in landscape restoration, literature on the role of landscape governance in overcoming these challenges is scarce. Scholars often refer to the importance of the capabilities of the landscape actors involved, but without specifying the capabilities required, which actors require them and why. This article aims to fill this knowledge gap by analysing landscape restoration from a governance perspective, focusing on the key challenges faced by landscape governance and the key capabilities required by landscape actors to overcome them. To define landscape governance capabilities, and to identify their dimensions and categorisations, we consult the literature on landscape governance and on capability. We complement this literature review with our empirical data on the landscape governance capabilities as perceived by landscape professionals engaged in landscape restoration projects and programmes. Based on both, we develop an analytical framework that specifies some of the typical capabilities required for addressing the challenges faced by landscape governance aiming to achieve well-balanced and long-lasting landscape restoration legitimately. The framework not only helps fill a knowledge gap but can also be used to structure the debate on landscape restoration by elucidating landscape governance in various contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104020
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date24 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Balanced outcomes
  • Capabilities
  • Challenges
  • Governance
  • Landscape
  • Legitimacy
  • Restoration


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