The Natural and the Cultural

An Integrated Approach to Landscape Heritage Management (in preparation)

Edited by Heleen van Londen, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Marjo Schlaman, Andrea Travaglia

Many western countries deal with a longstanding division between natural and cultural heritage when it comes to landscape management, which is mainly attributable to the fact that both sectors have developed independently and now operate separately. Such divide is further aggravated by the diversity of national and international regulations and administrative procedures. Over the past years, research carried out in both fields made it clear that this divide is counterproductive for managing future climate and economic challenges and safeguarding natural and cultural values as well as the well-being of inhabitants.

In order to find a sustainable and adjustable mode to develop the environment while preserving the natural and cultural heritage for future generations, it is therefore pivotal to understand the advantages of developing integrated policies to address both domains.

The special issue of Ex Novo, due to be released in spring 2019, hosts contributions fostering a combined approach to cultural and natural heritage through two main strategies: (a) internal cooperation between the two domains, and (b) engagement of new forms of integrated heritage with the external world.  Regarding the first one, different options are presented that explore crossovers between natural and cultural heritage with the ultimate goal of bridging this divide. Contributions scrutinise the different approaches to landscape management, knowledge dissemination and public engagement, by presenting different concepts of landscape heritage management across Europe and beyond.

The second strategy revolves around the integration of natural and cultural heritage with the external world, including land use planning, societal values and governance. Several papers illustrate recent shifts in the role of heritage from that of memory and identity to human rights, justice and well-being. Moreover, they discuss the key components to engage heritage with external bodies, including networks and communities of practice, online and offline communities, as well as different attitudes in  the public discourse.

Lastly, several papers address the potential challenges faced by both cultural and natural heritage as a result of rapidly changing national and international policies. These contributions show that landscape management policies have grown from a narrowly defined practice of protection and resilience of ecosystems to a practice taking into account human values, landscape perceptions and landscape as the outcome of the mediation between human actions and natural processes.

The volume will contribute to the debate on the new role of heritage in an ever changing framework for land use, infrastructural investment and sustainable development at national and international levels. All contributions are based on the papers presented in two sessions at the EAA annual meeting in Maastricht 2017.

 Las Médulas is an archaeological site and cultural park located in the northwest of Spain. It is considered to have been the largest open-cast gold mine in the Roman Empire. The mining technique altered the area into a unique landscape which is today not only acknowledged for its natural values but also as the driving force behind the transformation of local communities in terms of territorial organisation and social changes. (Image by R. I. Fernández, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)