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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010263

Dimensions of Landscape Stewardship across Europe: Landscape Values, Place Attachment, Awareness, and Personal Responsibility

1
Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
2
Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems, University of Kassel and University of Göttingen, Steinstr. 19, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
3
Societal Transition and Agriculture (430b), Institute of Social Sciences in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract

Improved perceptions towards landscape stewardship, at the local level, could help achieve more sustainable futures. However, little research has been done on the dimensions of landscape stewardship underlying such perceptions. Here we look at the perception of landscape values, place attachment, awareness of the adverse consequences human action might have on landscapes, and ascription of personal responsibility across Europe as well as how these dimensions are connected and influenced by personal capabilities and socio-cultural contexts. We conducted a cross-site comparison study, in six European municipalities, using a survey to capture residents’ levels of awareness, responsibility, and attachment as derived from a set of statements. Respondents were also asked to indicate the values they perceive in the local landscape from a given list. The data was analysed by combining frequency analysis, factor analysis, and contingency tables. In our sample of 726 respondents, stronger awareness was related to stronger ascription of personal responsibility, but a connection to place attachment was not clear. Perception of multiple landscape values was related to stronger awareness, responsibility, and place attachment. Meanwhile, awareness and responsibility were influenced by respondents’ occupation, levels of income and education, and socio-cultural context, whereas place attachment was linked to their relationship to the local area. We conclude that enhancing commitment towards landscape stewardship, at the local level, requires efforts focused on making environmental education more universal, implementing green options accessible to everyone, and people experientially engaging more actively with their local landscapes. View Full-Text
Keywords: European cross-site comparison; place-based; local level; multifunctional landscapes; personal capabilities; socio-cultural context; experiential landscape engagement European cross-site comparison; place-based; local level; multifunctional landscapes; personal capabilities; socio-cultural context; experiential landscape engagement
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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García-Martín, M.; Plieninger, T.; Bieling, C. Dimensions of Landscape Stewardship across Europe: Landscape Values, Place Attachment, Awareness, and Personal Responsibility. Sustainability 2018, 10, 263.

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