Landscape services


Conclusions and recommendations

The landscape services approach enables effective description of the added value and qualities of landscapes. Landscape services can be used to demonstrate clearly the qualities that landscapes possess for different stakeholder groups, and the resulting added value they have for local populations. This can help increase people’s acceptance of measures to protect and carefully manage landscape qualities. However, too much emphasis on landscape values can trigger intensified visitor traffic and increasing pressure on resources. Accordingly, communication of goals and messages should be planned carefully and strategically. Often, it is best to focus on fostering awareness and sharing information rather than promoting increased visitor traffic.

Recommendation: In addition to local populations and local stakeholders (e.g. farmers, landowners), projects should also engage the cantonal authorities: they should identify desired landscape services and strengthen them when planning regional landscape quality goals, in cooperation with municipalities.

Local stakeholders are open to participating in discussions on desired landscape qualities. The landscape services approach enables straightforward discussions with stakeholders about perceived and desired landscape qualities. The approach helps facilitate exchange about issues including aesthetic appeal, recreation, and connectedness, and helps to structure people’s statements. In this way, it also provides support in cases of conflict regarding landscape use, as it draws attention to issues that often receive insufficient weight in negotiations. Overall, local stakeholders display substantial willingness to discuss ‘their’ landscape, its significance, and its qualities. Municipal, cantonal, and federal authorities should make use of this willingness to develop landscape projects together with local stakeholder groups.

Recommendation: Cantonal and federal authorities should cooperate more closely with local stakeholder groups in order to strengthen and maintain landscape knowledge in different regions. In protected landscapes, conservation regulations provide the binding framework for activities. Within this legal framework, facilitators and participants should explore and utilize their available scope for action.

New cooperative structures should be promoted. Realizing and safeguarding landscape projects in the long term requires new, flexible structures of cooperation between local populations and outside experts. The roles of key participants can change continuously: for example, a participant may initially be a valuable ‘supplier of ideas’, and afterwards act mainly as an observer for the rest of the process. Others may shift from being ‘critics’ to being ‘supporters’. Some participate in the projects as representatives of an institution (e.g. municipal authority, school board, environmental organization), others as an interested private party, and still others as authorized agents (e.g. environmental consultants). It is crucial that the processes are skilfully moderated and sometimes supported with content-related or administrative services. The resulting dialogue can generate a local ‘landscape culture’, or concrete engagement with the landscape.

Recommendation: The needs and goals of the stakeholders involved will determine what type of structures are appropriate to promote cooperation in a given project. The collaboration should be flexible in order to accommodate changing conditions. For some projects, it may make sense to end the collaboration after the projects conclude. In other cases, some form of long-term cooperation under a shared umbrella may be appropriate.