Landscape integration in strategic policy documents

Authors and Affiliations: 

Eva Semančíková (1), Tereza Aubrechtová (2)
(1) Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia
(2) Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava

Corresponding author: 
Eva Semančíková

The European Landscape Convention (ELC) is one of the most important European policy document that gives guidelines for landscape protection, management and planning. The ELC obliges states that have ratified it to acknowledge landscape as important in terms of public interest, as part of the natural and cultural heritage and as an essential part of quality of life. The main task of the individual states is to legally recognize the term landscape and incorporate it into all areas of policy from protection through management to landscape planning.
The states should define landscape strategies and integrate landscape into different territorial and sectoral polices (Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)3). Nevertheless, landscape policy integration is so far the most week point of ELC implementation (Roberts et al., 2009) and many studies points to the low prioritisation of landscape in different policies (Salašová, 2014; Simeonova and van der Valk, 2016; Termorshuizen et al., 2007)
We therefore studied several national sectoral strategic documents to assess strategic approach to landscape integration based on ELC requirements in the Czech Republic. We found out that although landscape is a policy object, there are big differences in integrating landscape among the sectoral policy documents. The findings are important to overcome barriers for landscape policy integration and its improvement. In addition, our research would give general guidelines for assessment of landscape integration in policy documents in other states that ratified the ELC.
We have sectoral approaches to deal with landscape in the Czech Republic. As a result, several sectoral strategic documents exist, which deal with landscape. Nevertheless, the quality of integrating landscape in all the documents differ because it is a broad and complex issue, which is difficult to handle by policy (Veselý and Nekola, 2007). Thus it has to be reduced in meaningful way although its complexity cannot be overlooked (Crabbé and Leroy, 2008).
We studied five environmental and three spatial planning policy documents in our study to find out how do they integrate landscape. We based our methodology on the ELC requirements, like Roe (2013). Nevertheless, we studied also consistency of the landscape issue in relation to policy integration. The consistency was evaluated using the SMART criteria (Doran, 1981; Perrings et al., 2011), which were specified by set of sub-criteria related to ELC. The SMART criteria defined that the documents has to be: 1) Specific (describe and define landscape/ landscape problems; propose landscape vision; define goals); 2) Measurable (propose landscape monitoring and indicators); 3) Attainable (define constraints, propose measures to reach the goals); 4) Realistic (identify landscapes, propose instruments, allocate responsibility); 5) Timed (Time-framed and set priorities).
Our results show that none of the documents fully utilizes the terminology of ELC, but neither does not integrate landscape consistently. The method we used can be generally applicated for evaluating strategic policy documents to assess any environmental issues integration. However, more research should be done concerning the importance of the criteria on different administrative levels.
We focused also only on strategic environmental and spatial planning policy documents to evaluate how do they approach landscape and how do they approach landscape policy integration. Nevertheless policy integration is not just an output but also a process (Briassoulis, 2004). To discover the whole process and outputs of landscape policy integration, other approaches to reach the policy integration should be studied as well. Thus, several policy integration approaches has to be followed to reach effective landscape policy integration.


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