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Rudolf Agricola School

More Research Sustainable Landscapes & Regions

Key publications of the core team

Sustainable Landscapes
  • F.J. Sijtsma, N. Mehnen, P. Angelstam and J. Muñoz-Rojas (2019). Multi-scale mapping of cultural ecosystem services in a socio-ecological landscape: A case study of the international Wadden Sea Region. Landscape Ecology 34(7), 1751-1768. DOI :10.1007/s10980-019-00841-8

    The governance of international natural World Heritage sites is extremely challenging. In the search for effective multilevel governance there is a need to identify the community of people which have place attachment to the areas, i.e. ‘the community of fans’ at local to international levels. This paper focusses on the landscape of the international Wadden Sea coastal area in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark as a case study. It estimates that 14 million German, Dutch and Danish citizens can be regarded as the potential— national level—community of fans. Furthermore the paper shows that only 37% of the Greenmapper markers placed by fans of the Wadden Sea coastal area to mark their favorite areas are within the protected UNESCO World Heritage limits, suggesting that a broader formal demarcation could be possible.
  • P. Angelstam, M. Manton, M. Elbakidze, F.Sijtsma, … T.Yamelynets, (2019). LTSER platforms as a place-based transdisciplinary research infrastructure: learning landscape approach through evaluation. Landscape ecology 34(7), 1461-1484.
    Place-based transdisciplinary research involves multiple academic disciplines and non-academic actors. Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) platform is one concept with some 80 initiatives globally. As an exercise in learning through evaluation this paper audited LTSER platforms as to their (1) the siting, construction and maintenance, and (2) as a distributed infrastructure for place-based transdisciplinary research with focus on the European continent. The paper shows that both individually, and as a network, LTSER platforms have good potential for transdisciplinary knowledge production and learning about sustainability challenges. To improve the range of variation of Pan-European social–ecological systems interfacing with other landscape approach concepts, like UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves, the International Model Forest Network ( ), as well as the cooperation with the Global Landscapes Forum ( ) and IUCN landscape restoration efforts needs to be encouraged.
  • Bijker R.A. and Sijtsma F.J. (2017). A portfolio of natural places: Using a participatory GIS tool to compare the appreciation and use of green spaces inside and outside urban areas by urban residents. Landscape and Urban Planning 158 (2017) pp. 155-165.

    Green space at different distances is important for the wellbeing of urban dwellers, but it is difficult to disentangle how the use and appreciation of nearby and more distant nature by urban dwellers is related. This paper fills that gap and conducts an analysis in which we directly compare the appreciation and use of green spaces at four different spatial levels: neighbourhood, region, national, and world level, for urban residents in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Urban residents appear to have a ‘portfolio of natural places’. This portfolio consists of favourite places nearby that are rated lower but visited quite often, and natural places that they find highly attractive but are located farther away and visited less often. Local favourite places offer basic access to green and nature while other more distant natural places offer a larger variety of qualities and recreational possibilities. In order to meet the needs of urban residents, more than the immediate urban context needs to be considered in urban planning.
  • Stoffelen, H., Groote, P. D., Meijles, E.W., & Weitkamp, G. (2019). Geoparks and territorial identity: A study of the spatial affinity of inhabitants with UNESCO Geopark De Hondsrug, The Netherlands . Applied Geography, 106, 1-10.

    Even though the societal and academic attention to geoparks is on the rise, there is a distinct absence of studies on communities and their perceptions of the landscapes institutionalized by geoparks. This paper contributes to filling this gap by problematizing the geographical awareness, landscape associations and territorial identities of geopark inhabitants. Using a quantitative case study of UNESCO Geopark De Hondsrug (the Netherlands), the paper shows a complex image regarding the inhabitants' affinity with their living environment. Composite overlap mapping of mental maps drawn by inhabitants shows that the geopark incorporates an area that is substantially larger than the area interpreted by the inhabitants as constituting the Hondsrug. Nevertheless, the core area of the Hondsrug is recognized and lived by the majority of the people, providing a starting point for improving the community's support for the geopark's brand. In the paper, we conclude that only when there is enough bottom-up recognition and embedding of the brand and its underlying landscape values, a geopark's narrative can be effectively built on for endogenous regional development purposes.
  • Meijles, E.W., de Bakker, M., Groote, P., & Barske, R. (2014). Analysing hiker movement patterns using GPS data: Implications for park management. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 47.

    In natural areas, park management organisations need to cater for economic, environmental, recreation and social demands and values. However, the recreational quality of areas could be negatively impacted by conflicts in recreational behaviour. Therefore, park managers require spatio-temporal data on visitor flows, but there appears to be a shortage of suitable visitor data. In this paper we combine user movement analysis with environmental and ecological factors for natural resource management through a case study. GPS and itinerary data from visitors to the Drents-Friese Wold National Park (the Netherlands) were collected to estimate visitor densities and distribution patterns within the park. We show that walking speed, trip time and spatial distributions varied between park visitor groups. Marked trails, distance to facilities but not land use (such as forest or arable land) explained visitor distributions. Spatial patterns differ between respondent groups based on group size and composition. We conclude therefore that combining GPS data with itinerary information is a useful tool in profiling different natural park visitors. This is useful information for park managers in steering tourists and in catering for different visitor demands in natural parks.
  • Klaassen, R. H., Hake, M., Strandberg, R., Koks, B. J., Trierweiler, C., Exo, K. M., ... & Alerstam, T. (2014). W hen and where does mortality occur in migratory birds? Direct evidence from long‐term satellite tracking of raptors. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83(1), 176-184.

    Migratory birds travel across several landscapes. Information about when and where animals die is important to understand population regulation. However, the relative importance of population limiting factors during different periods of the year remains poorly understood, and previous studies mainly relied on indirect evidence. Here, we provide direct evidence about when and where migrants die by identifying cases of confirmed and probable deaths in three species of long‐distance migratory raptors tracked by satellite telemetry. We show that mortality rate was about six times higher during migration seasons than during stationary periods. However, total mortality was surprisingly similar between periods, which can be explained by the fact that risky migration periods are shorter than safer stationary periods. Nevertheless, more than half of the annual mortality occurred during migration.
  • Spek, T., Elerie, H., Bakker, J. P., & Noordhoff, I. (Eds.). (2015). Landschapsbiografie van de Drentsche Aa. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum.

    Deze Landschapsbiografie van de Drentsche Aa beschrijft de lange levensloop van dit bijzondere landschap: van de eerste geologische processen enkele miljoenen jaren geleden, via de prehistorie en historische tijd tot aan het moderne landschap van vandaag. Een team van dertig deskundigen ontsluit in dit boek vijftig jaar wetenschappelijk onderzoek. De biografie is rijk geïllustreerd met landschapsfoto’s, kaarten en landschapsreconstructies die de verschillende levensfasen van de Drentsche Aa weerspiegelen. Een bijzonder boek dat laat zien hoe het stroomdal van de Drentsche Aa door de tijd heen veranderde in het prachtige esdorpenlandschap van nu.
Last modified:02 June 2023 2.33 p.m.
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