Rural landscapes are presently undergoing a process of functional segregation which threatens to overcome all attempts at local decision making, inhibiting attempts at a transition to sustainability. The homogeneous wheat belts of North America and Europe, the plantations of postcolonial Africa, South East Asia and South America and the urban sprawl around our megacities are examples of this global tendency. The segregation trend has had a long history in Europe and has traditionally been balanced by the establishment of nature protection zones, designed to conserve valuable landscape resources by protecting them from exploitation. This has led to a problematic separation of our landscapes into A and B landscapes, or even landscapes and non-landscapes, where landscapes are protected areas with a high priority concerning protection and ecological management, and non-landscapes are all of the other areas of Europe, in which environmental management increasingly conforms to the principles of liberal economy.
Based on a national study of privately owned largeholder manorial estates in Denmark including a detailed case study conducted in one of the survey areas, we conclude that transition to landscape sustainability is held back by two main inhibitors, which currently makes it a necessity for rural agency to act unsustainably: (1) The global liberalized legal system which supports individual private ownership to land and thus restrains large scale decision making at a spatial scale to match the ecological problems at hand; and (2) The global agri-industrial growth and competition regime, which demands a mounting one-sided focus on establishing competitive economies of scale in rural landscapes.
Our results indicate that in areas where these two regimes of rural governance are repressed by other land use drivers, a transition to sustainability may become possible. This is the case in the privately owned manor landscapes, which are examples of an integrated land use strategy which has developed over centuries, made possible through stabile ownership conditions and a diversification of production activities. These landscapes integrate nature protection, agriculture, settlement and recreation in complex structures of management. They could serve as an example for future sustainable landscape planning at a larger scale, supported by regional regulation. The European Landscape Convention (ELC) supports such an alternative avenue of development, and can be considered a vision for more integrated types of landscape planning and management also outside protected areas (ELC 2000). The ELC highlights the common right to the landscape for all its inhabitants, and as such provides a singularly European approach to landscape planning which should be attempted at a larger scale on public lands in order to mitigate the democratically as well as ecologically dangerous influence of large scale agricultural capitalism.
|Title of host publication||The 8th World Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE). Proceedings : Landscape ecology for sustainable environment and culture|
|Number of pages||2|
|Place of Publication||Beijing, China|
|Publication date||Aug 2011|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2011|
|Event||The 8th Wolrd Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology: Landscape Ecology for Sustainable Environment and Culture - China National Convention Center (CNCC), Beijing, China|
Duration: 18 Aug 2011 → 23 Aug 2011
Conference number: 8
|Conference||The 8th Wolrd Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology|
|Location||China National Convention Center (CNCC)|
|Period||18/08/2011 → 23/08/2011|