In recent years, landscape and its management has become a focus of policies and academic conceptualisation. Landscape is understood as a concept of interconnected natural and human systems. Its management must take into account the dynamic interdependencies and diverging interests of various stakeholders at different levels. Bridging organisations can provide an arena for trust-building, conflict resolution, learning and collaboration between relevant stakeholders. This paper draws on two strands of literature – landscape governance and co-management of social-ecological systems – to investigate the contributions of agri-environmental collaboratives (AEC) to sustainable landscape management. Based on data from 41 interviews with key informants and AEC members in Germany and the Netherlands, six fields of contributions were identified: policy implementation and service provision; coordination and mediation; awareness raising and behaviour change; care for ‘everyday’ landscapes; maintenance and protection of landscapes (including species and habitats); and income generation and economic benefits. Some of the contributions evolve around the specific role of AEC as bridging organisations, but other contributions such as economic benefits emerge beyond this analytical lens. The paper therefore emphasises holistic, bottom up assessment of AEC contributions and argues that governments should support such organisations through i) funding for facilitators and ii) funding for impact monitoring and data management.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2015
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