What is it about?

Landscape research is a multidisciplinary topic, and many different systems and methods for landscape identification and classification exist. This paper provides a systematic review of 54 contemporary landscape characterisation approaches from all over the world. The review confirmed a major distinction between approaches rooted in the natural sciences and approaches rooted in the arts and the humanities. We identified three substantially different methodological approaches with various strengths and weaknesses.

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Why is it important?

The review addresses how and to which degree various methods differ, and sort them into distinct traditions or ‘schools’. Our findings provide a reference point for landscape characterisation and mapping at national, regional and local levels.

Perspectives

Our review indicates that there are substantial differences between landscape characterisation methods and that no single method can address all dimensions of the landscape without important trade-offs. Understanding the strengths of biophysical and holistic approaches may provide opportunities for improved strategies for landscape management and enable much-needed progress in making the landscape level relevant for environmental sciences.

Trond Simensen
Universitetet i Oslo

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This page is a summary of: Methods for landscape characterisation and mapping: A systematic review, Land Use Policy, June 2018, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.04.022.
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