Special Issue "Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation"

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A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kenneth R. Young (Website)

Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Phone: 5122328311
Interests: biogeography; environmental conservation; developing countries; tropical ecosystems; protected areas; Latin America, biodiversity; climate change; landscape change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental conservation covers a wide range of topics including human impacts on natural environments, the use of natural resources, sustainability, and biodiversity concerns. A productive way to implement the study and evaluation of environmental changes to the Earth’s land cover is by taking a landscape perspective, which provides many additional advantages for researchers and practitioners. This special issue will provide a forum for papers that address and illuminate landscape approaches to the study and management of environmental change. Humans often interact with their environment at a landscape scale, so this perspective is a useful, even necessary way to study the Anthropocene.

Landscape perspectives may draw from the field of landscape ecology, which is typically focused on ecological processes and phenomena in areas that are ten to hundreds of kilometers in size, and that show heterogeneity in some feature of interest to researchers or conservationists. This approach characterizes the land mosaic in terms of its land cover composition, the spatial arrangement of the patches and corridors, the dynamics of the mosaic’s elements, and the use of the mosaic by organisms. A landscape approach may also be informed by a watershed perspective, which defines the portion of the Earth’s surface of interest in terms of hydrological connectivity as water moves from the atmosphere to and through the land surface. Some innovative approaches may examine the movement of genes through landscapes, the effects of habitat fragmentation on species of concern, the role of disturbance regimes in changing landscapes, the means for assessing ecological restoration, ecological modeling, and planning for landscape design under different land use or climate change scenarios.

Dr. Kenneth R. Young
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • disturbance regime
  • habitat fragmentation
  • human impact
  • landscape change
  • landscape heterogeneity

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle A Resilience-Based Approach to the Conservation of Valley Oak in a Southern California Landscape
Land 2014, 3(3), 834-849; doi:10.3390/land3030834
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
Conservation thinking will benefit from the incorporation of a resilience perspective of landscapes as social-ecological systems that are continually changing due to both internal dynamics and in response to external factors such as a changing climate. The examination of two valley oak stands [...] Read more.
Conservation thinking will benefit from the incorporation of a resilience perspective of landscapes as social-ecological systems that are continually changing due to both internal dynamics and in response to external factors such as a changing climate. The examination of two valley oak stands in Southern California provides an example of the necessity of this systems perspective where each stand is responding differently as a result of interactions with other parts of the landscape. One stand is experiencing regeneration failure similar to other stands across the state, and is exhibiting shifts in spatial pattern as a response to changing conditions. A nearby stand is regenerating well and maintaining spatial and structural patterns, likely due to the availability of imported water associated with upstream urban development. Valley oak stands have a capacity for reorganization as a response to changes in the landscape and environmental conditions. This reorganization can benefit conservation efforts; however, we must ask what limits there are to valley oak’s capacity to reorganize and still maintain its ecological function in face of increasing changes in climate and land cover. The usefulness of resilience as a concept in conservation is discussed at several scales from the stand to the landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Landscape and Local Controls of Insect Biodiversity in Conservation Grasslands: Implications for the Conservation of Ecosystem Service Providers in Agricultural Environments
Land 2014, 3(3), 693-718; doi:10.3390/land3030693
Received: 3 May 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The conservation of biodiversity in intensively managed agricultural landscapes depends on the amount and spatial arrangement of cultivated and natural lands. Conservation incentives that create semi-natural grasslands may increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects and their associated ecosystem services, such as pollination [...] Read more.
The conservation of biodiversity in intensively managed agricultural landscapes depends on the amount and spatial arrangement of cultivated and natural lands. Conservation incentives that create semi-natural grasslands may increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects and their associated ecosystem services, such as pollination and the regulation of insect pests, but the effectiveness of these incentives for insect conservation are poorly known, especially in North America. We studied the variation in species richness, composition, and functional-group abundances of bees and predatory beetles in conservation grasslands surrounded by intensively managed agriculture in Southwest Ohio, USA. Characteristics of grassland patches and surrounding land-cover types were used to predict insect species richness, composition, and functional-group abundance using linear models and multivariate ordinations. Bee species richness was positively influenced by forb cover and beetle richness was positively related to grass cover; both taxa had greater richness in grasslands surrounded by larger amounts of semi-natural land cover. Functional groups of bees and predatory beetles defined by body size and sociality varied in their abundance according to differences in plant composition of grassland patches, as well as the surrounding land-cover diversity. Intensive agriculture in the surrounding landscape acted as a filter to both bee and beetle species composition in conservation grasslands. Our results support the need for management incentives to consider landscape-level processes in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Quality of Agricultural Landscape Change with Multiple Dimensions
Land 2014, 3(3), 598-616; doi:10.3390/land3030598
Received: 19 December 2013 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 24 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1086 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Better recognition of public perceptions is called for in developing policies that affect landscape qualities, such as agri-environmental policies. The present study focused on the evaluation of typical agricultural landscapes in Finland. We utilized and operationalized the visual landscape quality scales introduced [...] Read more.
Better recognition of public perceptions is called for in developing policies that affect landscape qualities, such as agri-environmental policies. The present study focused on the evaluation of typical agricultural landscapes in Finland. We utilized and operationalized the visual landscape quality scales introduced by Tveit et al. (2006) and further explored how these scales can be applied in citizen evaluation of agricultural landscapes. From landscape data collected via an Internet survey, we analysed whether and how the attributes of agricultural landscapes were linked to their evaluation. The results demonstrated that visual concepts such as openness, naturalness, species richness and the impression of being taken care of were significantly associated with six landscape attributes, i.e., grain, cattle, bales, farmhouses, buses and disturbances. A relationship between key landscape concepts and normative evaluation was found. The normative pleasantness of the landscape also significantly associated with individual landscape attributes and the socio-demographic characteristics of the perceivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Landscape Aesthetics and the Scenic Drivers of Amenity Migration in the New West: Naturalness, Visual Scale, and Complexity
Land 2014, 3(2), 390-413; doi:10.3390/land3020390
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 8 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Values associated with scenic beauty are common “pull factors” for amenity migrants, however the specific landscape features that attract amenity migration are poorly understood. In this study we focused on three visual quality metrics of the intermountain West (USA), with the objective [...] Read more.
Values associated with scenic beauty are common “pull factors” for amenity migrants, however the specific landscape features that attract amenity migration are poorly understood. In this study we focused on three visual quality metrics of the intermountain West (USA), with the objective of exploring the relationship between the location of exurban homes and aesthetic landscape preference, as exemplified through greenness, viewshed size, and terrain ruggedness. Using viewshed analysis, we compared the viewsheds of actual exurban houses to the viewsheds of randomly-distributed simulated (validation) houses. We found that the actual exurban households can see significantly more vegetation and a more rugged (complex) terrain than simulated houses. Actual exurban homes see a more rugged terrain, but do not necessarily see the highest peaks, suggesting that visual complexity throughout the viewshed may be more important. The viewsheds visible from the actual exurban houses were significantly larger than those visible from the simulated houses, indicating that visual scale is important to the general aesthetic experiences of exurbanites. The differences in visual quality metric values between actual exurban and simulated viewsheds call into question the use of county-level scales of analysis for the study of landscape preferences, which may miss key landscape aesthetic drivers of preference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Restoration of Prairie Hydrology at the Watershed Scale: Two Decades of Progress at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Land 2014, 3(1), 206-238; doi:10.3390/land3010206
Received: 19 December 2013 / Revised: 19 February 2014 / Accepted: 20 February 2014 / Published: 6 March 2014
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Abstract
Tallgrass prairie once occupied 67.6 million hectares in the North American Midwest but less than 0.1% remains today. Consisting of more than 2200 ha, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (NSNWR) was established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the 5217 [...] Read more.
Tallgrass prairie once occupied 67.6 million hectares in the North American Midwest but less than 0.1% remains today. Consisting of more than 2200 ha, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (NSNWR) was established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the 5217 ha Walnut Creek watershed in Jasper County, Iowa. Large tracts of land are being converted from row crop agriculture to native prairie and savanna with the goal to restore the landscape to a semblance of the condition that existed prior to Euro-American settlement. Understanding hydrologic processes at the watershed scale has been a focus of research at NSNWR for nearly two decades and the purpose of this paper is to integrate research results from monitoring projects to assess the progress made towards restoring five key hydrologic components: the water balance, stream network, streamflow hydrograph, groundwater levels and water quality. Restoration of hydrology is severely challenged by the history of hydrologic changes that occurred in the basin during a century of intensive agricultural activity. We document measurable progress in restoring key hydrologic processes in some areas, particularly in upland catchments compared to the larger watershed scale and discuss the timeframe needed to observe changes at short- and long-term scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives of Livestock Farmers in an Urbanized Environment
Land 2014, 3(1), 19-33; doi:10.3390/land3010019
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
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Abstract
Agriculture and its conflicts is a traditional debate in contemporary rural geography, associated with the organization and transformation of cultural landscapes by social groups. One of the most important areas of research is the perspectives and responses of farmers on the urban-rural [...] Read more.
Agriculture and its conflicts is a traditional debate in contemporary rural geography, associated with the organization and transformation of cultural landscapes by social groups. One of the most important areas of research is the perspectives and responses of farmers on the urban-rural fringe. The problems associated with land use change and the varying influences on new uses of traditional landscape introduce renovating and permanent elements to the management, responses and perspectives of farmers: extensification, changes in the organization of farm, relocation, etc. The purpose of this research is to analyze the conflicts, key responses and perspectives over farmland uses and their coexistence with the main dynamics of local and regional land use governance in the metropolitan rural area of Madrid, Spain. This contribution presents the main results of an empirical research in a key area in the north of the Madrid region: the municipalities of Colmenar Viejo and Tres Cantos. The methodology is mainly qualitative, based on an ethno geographical approach concerning livestock farmers directly affected by the urbanization process. The main results reflect the relevance of local politics and the individual livestock farmers’ strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Uncovering Dominant Land-Cover Patterns of Quebec: Representative Landscapes, Spatial Clusters, and Fences
Land 2013, 2(4), 756-773; doi:10.3390/land2040756
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 6 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4492 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mapping large areas for planning and conservation is a challenge undergoing rapid transformation. For centuries, the creation of broad-extent maps was the near-exclusive domain of expert specialist cartographers, who painstakingly delineated regions of relative homogeneity with respect to a given set of [...] Read more.
Mapping large areas for planning and conservation is a challenge undergoing rapid transformation. For centuries, the creation of broad-extent maps was the near-exclusive domain of expert specialist cartographers, who painstakingly delineated regions of relative homogeneity with respect to a given set of criteria. In the satellite era, it has become possible to rapidly create and update categorizations of Earth’s surface with improved speed and flexibility. Land cover datasets and landscape metrics offer a vast set of information for viewing and quantifying land cover across large areas. Comprehending the patterns revealed by hundreds of possibly relevant landscape metric values, however, remains a daunting task. We studied the information content of a large set of landscape pattern metrics across Quebec, Canada, asking whether they were capable of making consistent, spatially cohesive distinctions among patterns in landscapes. We evaluated the possibility of metrics to identify representative landscapes for efficient sampling or conservation, and determined areas where differences in nearby landscape patterns were the most and least pronounced. This approach can serve as a template for a landscape perspective on the challenges that will be faced in the near future by planners and conservationists working across large areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Designing an Index to Reveal the Potential of Multipurpose Landscapes in Southern Africa
Land 2013, 2(4), 705-725; doi:10.3390/land2040705
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 6 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
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Abstract
Multipurpose mosaic (“ecoagriculture”) landscapes can serve the purpose of land sharing to combine objectives of agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. Rewarding the people who shape and maintain those landscapes could act as a mechanism to generate added-value representing an indirect payment for [...] Read more.
Multipurpose mosaic (“ecoagriculture”) landscapes can serve the purpose of land sharing to combine objectives of agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. Rewarding the people who shape and maintain those landscapes could act as a mechanism to generate added-value representing an indirect payment for ecosystem services. We investigated the feasibility of such an approach in two areas in Southern Africa differing in spatial configurations, history and socio-economic context. We designed and tested a composite index describing the state of each landscape in terms of ecoagriculture criteria (conservation, production, institutions and livelihood) and ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating and cultural services). The resulting index is made up of different sets of data each comprising 40 scores, obtained from stakeholders’ participatory interviews. Ecosystem services are in general assigned more importance than ecoagriculture criteria. In both cases, cultural services receive the highest scores, whereas the lowest ones are attributed to the livelihood and institutions in the Zimbabwean and South African sites, respectively. Index values reveal that the South African site, where there is more integration between land-use units, does better in terms of a landscape performing multiple functions. Provided relevant stakeholders are involved and a certification mechanism is developed, the landscape labelling index can be used to recognize and reward the value of outstanding rural landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle The Impacts of Weather and Conservation Programs on Vegetation Dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau
Land 2013, 2(4), 573-594; doi:10.3390/land2040573
Received: 31 August 2013 / Revised: 29 September 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 24 October 2013
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Abstract
We present an analysis of the impacts of weather change and large-scale vegetation conservation programs on the vegetation dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau from 2000 through 2009. We employed a multiple lines of evidence approach in which multi-scale data were used. We [...] Read more.
We present an analysis of the impacts of weather change and large-scale vegetation conservation programs on the vegetation dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau from 2000 through 2009. We employed a multiple lines of evidence approach in which multi-scale data were used. We employed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at 500 m to identify significant vegetation increases in the Loess Plateau since 2000. We found increases in NDVI for 48% of the Loess Plateau between 2000 and 2009. We were able to attribute up to 37.5% of the observed vegetation increases to weather change, vegetation conservation activities and crop yield increases. We demonstrate that the impact of vegetation conservation programs on vegetation change in the Loess Plateau is twofold. On the one hand, vegetation conservation programs target marginal lands. Thus, significant vegetation increases due to cropland conversion and afforestation can be found in these regions. On the other hand, intensified agricultural production can be found in croplands with suitable topography and well-established irrigation systems, which were not enrolled in conservation programs to offset the agricultural production loss caused by vegetation conservation programs elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Incorporating Topography into Landscape Continuity Analysis—Hong Kong Island as a Case Study
Land 2013, 2(4), 550-572; doi:10.3390/land2040550
Received: 25 July 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 16 October 2013
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Abstract
The increase in population and the expansion of built-up areas into natural and agricultural areas results in more than just loss of open spaces surrounding cities. Reduced accessibility to nature, visual intrusion of buildings into natural viewsheds, and changes in runoff requires [...] Read more.
The increase in population and the expansion of built-up areas into natural and agricultural areas results in more than just loss of open spaces surrounding cities. Reduced accessibility to nature, visual intrusion of buildings into natural viewsheds, and changes in runoff requires us to assess these impacts on open spaces. Our aim in this paper was to examine and demonstrate how topography can be incorporated into modeling and analyzing environmental impacts of cities. Taking Hong Kong Island as a case study, we used historical topographic maps to map changes in the built-up areas between 1930 and 2006. We analyzed changes in three variables representing different kinds of human impacts: landscape continuity, visibility of built-up areas, and runoff from built-up areas. We show that consideration of topography (both natural and artificial) is critical to understand spatial patterns of land use and of human impacts on open spaces. The methods employed here can be applied to examine and visualize the potential effects of future and proposed development plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)

Review

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Open AccessReview Ecologies of Scale: Multifunctionality Connects Conservation and Agriculture across Fields, Farms, and Landscapes
Land 2014, 3(3), 739-769; doi:10.3390/land3030739
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agroecology and landscape ecology are two land-use sciences based on ecological principles, but have historically focused on fine and broad spatial scales, respectively. As global demand for food strains current resources and threatens biodiversity conservation, concepts such as multifunctional landscapes and ecologically-analogous [...] Read more.
Agroecology and landscape ecology are two land-use sciences based on ecological principles, but have historically focused on fine and broad spatial scales, respectively. As global demand for food strains current resources and threatens biodiversity conservation, concepts such as multifunctional landscapes and ecologically-analogous agroecosystems integrate ecological concepts across multiple spatial scales. This paper reviews ecological principles behind several concepts crucial to the reconciliation of food production and biodiversity conservation, including relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions such as productivity and stability; insect pest and pollinator management; integrated crop and livestock systems; countryside biogeography and heterogeneity-based rangeland management. Ecological principles are integrated across three spatial scales: fields, farms, and landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessReview Land-Use Threats and Protected Areas: A Scenario-Based, Landscape Level Approach
Land 2014, 3(2), 362-389; doi:10.3390/land3020362
Received: 21 January 2014 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 8 April 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Anthropogenic land use will likely present a greater challenge to biodiversity than climate change this century in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Even if species are equipped with the adaptive capacity to migrate in the face of a changing climate, they will likely [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic land use will likely present a greater challenge to biodiversity than climate change this century in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Even if species are equipped with the adaptive capacity to migrate in the face of a changing climate, they will likely encounter a human-dominated landscape as a major dispersal obstacle. Our goal was to identify, at the ecoregion-level, protected areas in close proximity to lands with a higher likelihood of future land-use conversion. Using a state-and-transition simulation model, we modeled spatially explicit (1 km2) land use from 2000 to 2100 under seven alternative land-use and emission scenarios for ecoregions in the Pacific Northwest. We analyzed scenario-based land-use conversion threats from logging, agriculture, and development near existing protected areas. A conversion threat index (CTI) was created to identify ecoregions with highest projected land-use conversion potential within closest proximity to existing protected areas. Our analysis indicated nearly 22% of land area in the Coast Range, over 16% of land area in the Puget Lowland, and nearly 11% of the Cascades had very high CTI values. Broader regional-scale land-use change is projected to impact nearly 40% of the Coast Range, 30% of the Puget Lowland, and 24% of the Cascades (i.e., two highest CTI classes). A landscape level, scenario-based approach to modeling future land use helps identify ecoregions with existing protected areas at greater risk from regional land-use threats and can help prioritize future conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Figures

Open AccessReview Landscape, Legal, and Biodiversity Threats that Windows Pose to Birds: A Review of an Important Conservation Issue
Land 2014, 3(1), 351-361; doi:10.3390/land3010351
Received: 31 December 2013 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 13 March 2014 / Published: 24 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Windows in human residential and commercial structures in urban, suburban, and rural landscapes contribute to the deaths of billions of birds worldwide. International treaties, federal, provincial, state, and municipal laws exist to reduce human-associated avian mortality, but are most often not enforced [...] Read more.
Windows in human residential and commercial structures in urban, suburban, and rural landscapes contribute to the deaths of billions of birds worldwide. International treaties, federal, provincial, state, and municipal laws exist to reduce human-associated avian mortality, but are most often not enforced for bird kills resulting from window strikes. As an additive, compared to a compensatory mortality factor, window collisions pose threats to the sustainability and overall population health of common as well as species of special concern. Several solutions to address the window hazard for birds exist, but the most innovative and promising need encouragement and support to market, manufacture, and implement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Urban Landscape Perspectives
Land 2014, 3(1), 342-350; doi:10.3390/land3010342
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 10 March 2014 / Accepted: 11 March 2014 / Published: 17 March 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (588 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities present significant opportunities for new landscape perspectives that can help inform conservation and development decisions. Early in the twenty-first century, the majority of the planet’s population became urban as more people lived in city-regions for the first time in our history. [...] Read more.
Cities present significant opportunities for new landscape perspectives that can help inform conservation and development decisions. Early in the twenty-first century, the majority of the planet’s population became urban as more people lived in city-regions for the first time in our history. As the global population increases, so does this urbanization. The environmental challenges of population and urban growth are profound. Landscapes represent a synthesis of natural and cultural processes. Cities are certainly cultural phenomena. Historically, cities provided refuge from nature. The expanding field of urban ecology, coupled with landscape ecology, can enhance how the dual natural and cultural dimensions of landscapes in cities are understood. Furthermore, concepts such as ecosystem services and green infrastructure are proving useful for urban landscape planning and design. Examples from Dayton, Ohio; Brooklyn, New York; and Austin, Texas are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessReview Historical Landscape Perspectives on Grasslands in Sweden and the Baltic Region
Land 2014, 3(1), 300-321; doi:10.3390/land3010300
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2014 / Accepted: 7 March 2014 / Published: 13 March 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1011 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A landscape perspective is generally recognized as essential for conservation biology. The main underlying reason is that species respond to features of the landscape at various spatial scales, for example habitat area, connectivity, and matrix habitats. However, there is also an “historical” component [...] Read more.
A landscape perspective is generally recognized as essential for conservation biology. The main underlying reason is that species respond to features of the landscape at various spatial scales, for example habitat area, connectivity, and matrix habitats. However, there is also an “historical” component of a landscape perspective, which has not received similar attention. The underlying reasons for historical effects are that humans have influenced landscapes during several millennia and that species and communities may respond slowly to land use change. An historical perspective on landscapes also relates to how we perceive “natural” vs. “cultural” landscapes, and thus how conservation actions are motivated and valuated. We review studies from Sweden and the Baltic region in the context of an historical landscape perspective, focusing on semi-natural grasslands, i.e., grasslands formed by long-term human management for grazing and hay-making. Semi-natural grasslands are today a high concern for conservation. Historical effects are ubiquitous on species distributions and patterns of species richness, and have important implications for developing informed conservation programs in semi-natural grasslands, particularly with regard to assumptions of historical baselines, the choice of conservation targets, and insights on time-lags in the response of species to current landscape change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEssay Why Landscape Beauty Matters
Land 2014, 3(4), 1251-1269; doi:10.3390/land3041251
Received: 8 May 2014 / Revised: 29 September 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 5 November 2014
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Abstract
This philosophical paper explores the aesthetic argument for landscape conservation. The main claim is that the experience of beautiful landscapes is an essential part of the good human life. Beautiful landscapes make us feel at home in the world. Their great and [...] Read more.
This philosophical paper explores the aesthetic argument for landscape conservation. The main claim is that the experience of beautiful landscapes is an essential part of the good human life. Beautiful landscapes make us feel at home in the world. Their great and irreplaceable value lies therein. To establish this claim, the concepts of landscape and “Stimmung” are clarified. It is shown how “Stimmung” (in the sense of mood) is infused into landscape (as atmosphere) and how we respond to it aesthetically. We respond by resonating or feeling at home. The paper ends by indicating how art can help us to better appreciate landscape beauty. This is done by way of an example from contemporary nature poetry, Michael Donhauser’s Variationen in Prosa, which begins with “Und was da war, es nahm uns an” (“And what was there accepted us”). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessEssay Preserving the Picturesque: Perceptions of Landscape, Landscape Art, and Land Protection in the United States and China
Land 2014, 3(1), 260-281; doi:10.3390/land3010260
Received: 24 December 2013 / Revised: 19 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 13 March 2014
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Abstract
The predominant environmental consciousness in both the United States and China reflects an underlying sense of separation of people from nature. Likewise, traditional landscape paintings in the United States and China share a common underlying aesthetic—i.e., the “picturesque”. Together, these [...] Read more.
The predominant environmental consciousness in both the United States and China reflects an underlying sense of separation of people from nature. Likewise, traditional landscape paintings in the United States and China share a common underlying aesthetic—i.e., the “picturesque”. Together, these similarities appear to have led to the preservation of similar types of landscapes in both countries. Because decisions regarding landscape preservation and subsequent management of preserved areas in both countries reflect aesthetic preferences more than they reflect economic values placed on ecosystem services, contemporary artists have an opportunity to help shape future societal decisions regarding what natural areas to conserve and protect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)

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