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Open AccessArticle

Sustainability in Land Management: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perceptions in Rural Northern Germany

Institute of Socio-Economics, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Strasse 84, 15374 Muencheberg, Germany
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Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 683-704; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010683
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 8 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Successful sustainable land management efforts rely on stakeholder support and integration of stakeholder knowledge. This study explored the views of sustainable land management expressed by land use stakeholders and how these views contribute to land users’ self-perceptions. We examined stakeholder perceptions in four case study areas in rural northern Germany. The target groups consisted of representatives from (i) agriculture; (ii) forestry; (iii) water management and (iv) rural planning and development (“cross-sector” representatives). The data were gathered using 60 semi-structured interviews and were analyzed qualitatively. The results indicate that differences in perceptions are greater between stakeholder groups than between regions; regional land management issues shape the framework of negotiations and the redefinition of concepts, whereas stakeholder group affiliations shape mindsets. The economic dimension of sustainability was emphasized, particularly by land managers; however, the social dimension was underrepresented in the statements. Furthermore, there are considerable differences between stakeholder groups in terms of the ways in which the spatial and temporal scales of sustainable land use are perceived. This study underscores the importance of examining stakeholder knowledge and understanding the complexity of land management and its benefits such that consensual management strategies may be developed. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable land use; landscape management; stakeholder analysis; qualitative analysis; semi-structured interview sustainable land use; landscape management; stakeholder analysis; qualitative analysis; semi-structured interview
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Lange, A.; Siebert, R.; Barkmann, T. Sustainability in Land Management: An Analysis of Stakeholder Perceptions in Rural Northern Germany. Sustainability 2015, 7, 683-704.

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