Landscape Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 333–346 | Cite as

Bridging the Gap between Centrally Defined Policies and Local Decisions – Towards more Sensitive and Creative Rural Landscape Management

  • Teresa Pinto-Correia
  • Roland Gustavsson
  • Janez Pirnat
Research Article


European policies and instruments such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and many instruments for nature and landscape conservation in Europe have for some decades been dominated by centralisation and standardisation. This paper shows that this has led to the neglect of contextual and place-related approaches and an unnecessarily high degree of over-simplification. Recently, as a reaction to this over-simplification, diversity and specific character has been particularly stressed in many European and national strategies for rural landscapes and conservation, but the processes of simplification still continue. Using examples from mixed agriculture and forestry landscapes in Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden, this paper aims to contribute to understanding the gap between centrally defined strategies for rural landscapes and awareness and management practices at local level. The three countries are situated at the outer fringes of Europe, and are complementary with their different degrees of urbanisation, forest distribution and tree-richness in the agricultural landscapes. Furthermore, the aim is to show how local landscape management is driven and to identify factors contributing to a better use of public policies through a participatory process with visions for the future. Systems of landscape classifications such as landscape character assessment often recognise the specific character of these landscapes, but have so far achieved very little for the preservation of their locally specific values, nor have they contributed to the development and the creation of new visions for future management. Such systems could contribute much more if they could be opened to adaptation on a more local scale in communication-led management planning.


Authenticity Contextual knowledge Local level Multi-functionality Rural landscapes Stakeholders 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Pinto-Correia
    • 1
  • Roland Gustavsson
    • 2
  • Janez Pirnat
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Landscape and Biophysical PlanningUniversity of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Landscape PlanningSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  3. 3.Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest ResourcesUniversity of LjubljanaSlovenia

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