How landscape stewardship emerges out of landscape planning

Paul Opdam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Landscape Planning Versus Stewardship The landscape, here conceived as a social-ecological system resulting from the interaction between nature and humans, is a public and private domain at the same time. Many parts can be privately owned and used for earning an income, while other parts are public domain. Taken together public and private parts constitute a heterogeneous pattern of natural and human sites supporting natural and social processes. Where the community inhabiting the landscape area perceives its ecological functioning as beneficial, these benefits are called landscape services (Termorshuizen and Opdam 2009). These services may be of private interests e.g. farmers using the potential of the landscape to grow food, as well as of public interest e.g. people enjoying improved mental health by interacting with the natural assets of the landscape. People may have an explicit or hidden demand for these services, but their supply is not regulated by demand supply mechanisms only (Dietz et al. 2003). Therefore, to ascertain these values of public interest, governments have declared rules and legislation that limit the adaptation and use of landscapes, for example rules about the application of fertilisers. In case the central governments have the prime responsibility for common values such as biodiversity and water quality, public agencies initiate and organise the process of adapting landscapes in the face of new challenges, such as expanding cities or climate change impacts. In this process of what is called landscape or environmental planning (Linehan and Gross 1998, Steiner 2000, Hawkins and Selman 2002), conflicts of competing interests are solved in a formal procedure often embedded in legislation, in which stakeholders may be consulted. The government’s responsibilities also include providing knowledge, organising consultation workshops and financing implementation measures. In contrast, in landscape stewardship the organiser role of the government is limited or even not existing. Landscape stewardship is driven by the actions of people, based on their appreciation of the multiple landscape values that they perceive as crucial for their wellbeing (Nassauer 2011). In general terms, landscape stewardship is defined as the active shaping of pathways of social and ecological change for the benefits of ecosystems and society (Chapin III and Knapp 2015), interpreted in the context of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship
EditorsClaudia Bieling, Tobias Plieninger
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781316499016
ISBN (Print)9781107142268
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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