Effectiveness of landscape planning in Germany

Authors and Affiliations: 

Wolfgang Wende, Ulrich Walz, und Christian Stein

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wende, Dipl.-Geogr. Christian Stein
Leibniz-Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development Dresden
Weberplatz 1
01217 Dresden, Germany

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Walz
University of Applied Science HTW Dresden
Pillnitzer Platz 2
D-01326 Dresden, Germany

Corresponding author: 
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wende

Local landscape planning in Germany is the instrument of nature conservation and landscape management for preparatory land use planning. Local landscape plans are mandatory in case of local urban development takes place. However, they are established for urban as well as rural municipalities, and roughly 75 % of all the German municipalities set up already a landscape plan. Certain landscape services (Termorshuizen & Opdam, 2009) are to be addressed during the planning process, e.g., biotic regulation and regeneration services (particularly habitat value with regard to biodiversity, species and habitats), groundwater recharge, yield and decontamination services, and the resistance of soil towards erosion (the productive and regenerative services of soil), air quality and microclimatic balancing services, and finally, recreation and aesthetic services. This, particularly, illustrates the strategic approach of landscape planning.

This contribution examines the extent to which this planning instrument has a spatial effect and influences the landscape quality and structure. Is the impact of local landscape plans on sustainable landscape development measurable and what kind of effect is it? Which statistical testing methods can be applied, and which indicators are necessary to show the current processes of landscape change? The study design is comparable to a Swiss study on landscape planning (see Hersperger et al. 2017).
A random representative sample of 600 municipalities was studied in this respect using indicators derived from geo-data. The landscape plans of a subsample were assessed with respect to their quality, which was placed in relation to land use and to landscape quality and structure. This revealed medium-strong positive connections between the quality and the degree of detail of statements in the landscape plan on the requirements and measures and on proposals for implementation on the one hand and the density of landscape structure elements such as hedges, copses or tree lines on the other hand. These and further connections show that, particularly, the quality of local landscape plans has an influence on landscape structure and diversity.
It could also be shown that municipalities with a landscape plan have on average a higher proportion of natural areas, a lower hemeroby index (ie lower cultural impact), a higher density of borders between settlements and open spaces, a smaller mean area size of undeveloped areas and a higher density of wooded ecotones in comparison to municipalities which have not set up a landscape plan. Additionally, grassland seems to be better protected towards land take in those municipalities with a local landscape plan. All these are indications that the landscape plan contributes to an improvement, above all, in the structure (and quality) of the landscape.


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Termorshuizen, J.-W. & Opdam, P.: Landscape services as a bridge between landscape ecology and sustainable development. Landscape Ecology, 24 (2009), pages 1037–1052.

Walz, U. & Stein, C.: Indicators of hemeroby for the monitoring of landscapes in Germany. – Journal for Nature Conservation, 22 (2014) 3, pages 279-289.

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Wende, W.; Marschall, I.; Heiland, S.; Lipp, T.; Reinke, M.; Schaal, P.; Schmidt, C.: Umsetzung von Maßnahmenvorschlägen örtlicher Landschaftspläne. Naturschutz und Landschaftsplanung, Stuttgart 41 (2009) 5. S. 145-149.

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