Drivers of European landscape change: stakeholders’ perspectives through Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping

T. van der Sluis*, B.J.M. Arts, K. Kok, M.M.B. Bogers, Anne Gravsholt Busck , Kalev Sepp, I. Loupa-Ramos, V. Pavlis, Nicoleta Geamana, Emilie Crouzat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding complex processes of landscape change is crucial to guide the development of future landscapes and land resources. Through Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping, we studied the processes of landscape change of six different environmental zones in Europe. Results show that landscapes are complex systems, with many interactions. Except for one, all regions show a strong decline in landscape quality. Dominant drivers are EU policy and the global economy, sometimes in conjunction with environmental drivers or the governance system. The process of change differs for all cases, through urbanisation or land abandonment in some cases, and agricultural intensification in others. The (un)intended effects of policies are difficult to predict. Although some EU Policies directly improve landscape quality, their indirect effects as well as other EU policies outweigh this positive influence and jointly result in a decrease of landscape quality. To counter these negative side effects, targeted landscape policies are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-476
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018


  • complex systems
  • drivers of change
  • land management
  • landscape policy
  • Social-ecological systems


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