Socio-ecological networks to couple spatial scales in collaborative landscape design

E.G. Steingröver, P.F.M. Opdam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


The concept of socio-ecological systems (SES) is proposed for a systems approach in sustainable landscape change at different spatial scales. We explore how knowledge about socio-ecological networks can help in collaborative landscape design processes which require solutions on multiple spatial scales. The physical structure of peri-urban landscapes often takes the shape of a mosaic of patches for food and housing or commercial functions, intertwined by a network of green and blue landscape elements. This network supports a large part of the biodiversity and related ecosystem services and water regulation functions, and is a key factor in the perception of beauty and heritage value, etc. Characteristically, these functions require structural cohesion at a large scale. So the appropriate physical conditions for required landscape changes can only be managed collectively by a variety of actors on different spatial scales. The social component of the SES contains land owners, farmers, citizens, visitors, pressure groups and authorities responsible for common goods. These actors constitute a complex of partly overlapping subnetworks, extending across the boundaries of the region. In general sustainable landscape change demands a collaborative planning and design process. But regional processes require the involvement of regional actors and aim at specific tailor-made regional solutions. These collaborative processes usually don’t take the larger spatial scale into account that is required, nor aim for solutions that may be part of required changes on larger spatial scales. Adaptation to climate change is an example in which the required landscape change plays on multiple scales involving multiple actors. Regional policy requires solutions that are generated in a collaborative process with stakeholders, while national policy requires the total sum of the regional solutions to equal solutions to national set goals for climate change. We propose that the use of socio-ecological networks in regional planning results in solutions that take multiple spatial scale issues into account and contribute to solutions that can only be realized on larger scales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Program and Book of Abstracts, Scaling and Governance Conference 2010 "Towards a New Knowledge for Scale Sensitive Governance of Complex Systems", Wageningen, The Netherlands, November 11-12, 2010
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen UR
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventScaling and Governance Conference 2010 - Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Nov 201012 Nov 2010


ConferenceScaling and Governance Conference 2010

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