Ecosystem services in European cultural landscapes: Pathways, pitfalls, and perspectives

In: A. Gasparatos & K. J. Willis (ed), Biodiversity in the Green Economy: Moving beyond the rhetoric, Routledge

Drawing on empirical evidence from studies conducted in two human-shaped landscapes in Germany, the article aims to enhance the knowledge of how to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services in integrated, subsequently termed ‘cultural’ landscapes. We analyze the relations between ecosystem services, policy instruments, and local quality of life, and shed light on the various context-specific aspects that need to be considered when implementing the ecosystem services approach in cultural landscapes. The authors identify how biodiversity conservation in such cultural landscapes can contribute to green economic development.

First, the paper briefly summarises the key characteristics of the two cultural landscapes that are the focus of this chapter. The authors then discuss a number of important aspects that need to be understood when managing cultural landscapes. These include the spatial dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the existing policy instruments and ownership structures, the perspectives, knowledge, and action of local people and land-users, the multiplicity of ecosystem services, including cultural ecosystem services, and the importance for adopting a dynamic view on landscapes. Subsequently, practical and policy implications of fostering ecosystem services in integrated landscapes are presented and linkages between the landscape approach and the debate around a ‘green economy’ are explored.