Navigating the space between landscape science and collective action for sustainability: identifying key factors in information processing

P.F.M. Opdam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Transitions to more sustainable landscapes require that actors change their thinking about using the landscape and act collectively to implement a shared view on the future. If landscape ecologists want their knowledge to contribute to such transitions, the information they provide need to stimulate collective decisions and action.
Objective: To identify key factors that determine how scientific information about landscape functioning and benefits influences actors in organizing collective action for landscape sustainability.
Method: I combine a theory of knowledge management with a theory of behavioural change to construct a framework of 4 phases of interpretation and implementation of landscape information.
Results: The 4 phases are: (1) actors accept the information as significant, (2) actors assess the saliency of the information for their case, (3) the information stimulates social network building and collective action, and (4) the information enforces the capacity to organize collaborative change. The extent to which these phases effectively develop in the interaction between scientists and practitioners depends on characteristics of the information, but to a great deal also on the process of interaction and the roles scientist play. I discuss how landscape ecologists can intervene in these phases, by providing the right information and by facilitating an interactive process of knowledge generation.
Conclusions: Whether landscape information is eventually used in organizing the landscape change depends on characteristics of the information and the governance process in which the information is brought in. Knowledge from social sciences is indispensable for landscape ecology with impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2629-2639
JournalLandscape Ecology
Early online date24 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Collaborative landscape adaptation
  • Knowledge management
  • Landscape services
  • Landscape sustainability science
  • Science-practice gap
  • Theory of planned behaviour


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