Mapping landscape functions: Integrating governmental and scientific methodologies

Gulickx, M.M.C.; Kok, K.; Stoorvogel, J.J.; Ruiter, P.C. de


Mapping landscape functions: Integrating governmental and scientific methodologies M.M.C. Gulickx 1, K. Kok 1, J.J. Stoorvogel 1, P.C. de Ruiter 1 1 Land Dynamics Group, Wageningen University – PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands Contact: The functionality of landscapes is shaped by humans to obtain goods and services that are beneficial for society. Examples of these landscape functions are food production, recreation, flood protection, and habitat provision. To comply with the increasing demand for land, landscape (multi-)functionality is increasingly used in the development of environmental policies and plans. It is therefore important to recognise relations between landscape functions and their environment and to map landscape functions. Because different landscape functions exist, there is not one single method for quantification and mapping, which makes the interpretation complex and difficult. The assessment is done through scientific research and by governmental spatial planners. Both use their own approaches. In this study we analyse the differences between the two approaches and evaluate the possibility to come to an improved integrated methodology to map landscape functions. This study focused on six landscape functions (i.e. forest habitat, ecological corridor, brook valley habitat, cultural landscape, flood water storage, and intensive recreation) in two case study areas in The Netherlands. To describe the governmental approach two workshops were organised with the governmental spatial planners. The governmental and scientific approaches and resulting maps were compared, and possibilities to improve both approaches were discussed during a third workshop. The best aspects of both approaches were combined into an integrated methodology. The integrated methodology and resulting maps were discussed in a feedback workshop. The comparison of the governmental and scientific landscape function approach showed that they both start with evaluating biophysical aspects of the landscape. However, the scientific approach based the location of the landscape functions on quantified relations with biophysical aspects and landscape elements (e.g. hedgerow), whilst the governmental approach decided the location of the landscape function also on economic and social aspects. The results show three similar and three dissimilar landscape functions maps. The integrated methodology included the correlated biophysical aspects that were lacking in the governmental approach and socio-economic aspects that were lacking in the scientific approach. For the future, two great challenges remain. Firstly, the socio-economic aspect were specific for this study area at this time, however, it did not have a direct relation with the physical environment. Making socio-economic aspects spatially explicit is a crucial step that needs to be developed further. Secondly, some biophysical aspects were considered by the governmental approach, however, decisions were overruled for economic reasons. This decision-making process is important for the location of landscape functions, therefore, this should be taken into account. The question remains, though, how?