European landscapes in transition: levels of intervention

Wascher, D.M., 2001, European landscapes in transition: levels of intervention, in: Green, B. & W. Vos, ‘Threatened landscapes’, E. & F. Spon, London and New York

  • Author : Wascher, D.M.
  • Year : 2001
  • English Title : European landscapes in transition: levels of intervention
  • Published in Book : Threatened landscapes
  • Pages : 129- 138
  • Outline in English : CONTENT: The economic transition; The policy transition; The socio-holistic transition; Integrated environmental. INTRODUCTION (from the book) "Discovering appropriate ways of living in different landscapes has been the key to the rise of civilization. For millennia the development of human society has been a function of people's capacity to control their landscape of origin, civilization being fundamentally rooted in and moulded according to physical landscape characteristics. The technologically and economically advanced societies of Mesopotamia, for example, thrived upon a knowledge base that was intrinsically linked to the challenges of managing the landscape's complex and dynamic water systems. Mediterranean societies such as those of the Greeks and Romans, as well as most other more recent European cultures, have likewise been shaped by a variety of factors among which landscape characteristics are generally considered as highly influential. Failure to manage landscapes sustainably certainly appears to have been a key factor in the decline of many civilizations. Deforestation, desertification and salinization still threaten people's livelihoods in many parts of the world today. Progress in the fields of science, technology and trade has deepened the divide between the service function of landscapes and a society's overall socio-economic and environmental objectives. Large-scale and pervasive changes in landscape form and function are now achieved in a fraction of the time and effort necessary in the past. Maintaining cherished landscape features and traditional ways of rural life without fossilization and hardship presents a formidable challenge to policy-makers and planners.Three levels of intervention could contribute towards a transition of European landscapes in the near future, namely:• • developing sustainable agriculture and forestry as a top-down driving force for maintaining high landscape values ('the economic transition'); • • improving the international legal framework for landscape conservation and planning ('the policy transition'); • • developing a model of society that is more deeply anchored in regional landscapes ('the socio-holistic transition')" (Wascher, 2001)