Holistic Approaches to Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Livelihoods Development

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Landscape Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 685

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Biodiversity and Policy, Wageningen Environmental Research (WENR), 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: landscape ecology; land use planning; ecological networks; Natura 2000; IPBES; African and Mediterranean ecosystems; spatial analysis; sustainable tourism; landscape governance

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Guest Editor
Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5NG, UK
Interests: climate-resilient development; sustainable land management and ecosystem service-based approaches to address climate change and poverty; sustainable energy for poverty reduction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University & Research centre (UR), 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: ecological resilience; cultural ecosystem services; community forestry; forest governance; environmental protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecosystem services are being lost as a result of land degradation, unsustainable farming practices, over-exploitation of natural resources, infrastructural developments, climate change, and population growth. Current farming practices are often unsustainable due to increasing population pressure, which leads to an over-exploitation of land for crops and livestock that are not suitable for such intensive use. The intensification of monocropping and large-scale cash crop planting contributes to even more widespread land degradation. Deforestation and forest degradation put increased pressure on the environment and decrease the ability of forests to provide essential ecosystem services. The drivers of this negative trend are complex, as they relate to multiple processes at multiple levels and scales.

When ecosystem processes and functions are drastically perturbed, various consequences with significant socio-economic impacts follow. Communities suffer from a less resilient farming system, while biodiversity declines due to degradation. Given the multi-level/multi-scalar drivers of degradation, community-based approaches no longer suffice. Action is required to foster landscape restoration from a holistic perspective to address the multi-faceted drivers of landscape change. The “landscape approach” (Sayer et al., 2013) provides a useful guiding framework to help decision-makers and practitioners implement response options that are locally appropriate and integrated. In particular, it promotes inclusive and participatory learning processes to identify practical solutions. It seeks to address the competing interests of different stakeholders across a landscape to engage in multi-sectoral, collaborative land management.

An array of other approaches and definitions (such as the ecosystem services and Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) frameworks, among others) coexist in the pursuit of similar goals. In the past twenty years, they all have gained increasing traction in research and decision-making across multiple sectors and disciplines. However, we still lack a unified definition or approach in the pursuit of landscape restoration and sustainable livelihood development, which hampers the capacity to provide robust and comparable empirical evidence on the implications of different interventions.

Important questions to answer are: How can the landscape and other holistic approaches contribute to identify and compare action to improve landscape management, restoration, and livelihood development across different spatial and temporal scales? How can multi-stakeholder collaboration be fostered across sectors and disciplines in a participatory manner? What are the current experiences with bottom-up landscape restoration, and what opportunities and challenges are encountered in the pursuit of multiple benefits? What are the most effective ways to communicate the results to stakeholders across landscapes?

Empirical evidence of “how” the use of holistic approaches to landscape restoration research (such as the ecosystem services, SES, and landscape approaches) can foster community-based landscape restoration and sustainable livelihood development remains limited. In this Special Issue, we aim to collect such evidence.

We aim to collect articles that demonstrate in particular the functioning of landscape approaches and SES, and that analyze the role of communities and stakeholders in ecosystem management. We will explore possible solutions in combatting further land degradation and resource depletion, with a view to enhance wellbeing and adapt to climate change.


  • Use of the landscape approach, Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) framework, and other holistic approaches in ecosystem services management at the landscape level (to address the research questions of this Special Issue).
  • Evidence of truly bottom-up landscape restoration interventions (including opportunities, challenges, and lessons from practice).
  • Tools and approaches for participatory multi-stakeholder collaboration in holistic landscape management.

Dr. Theo van der Sluis
Dr. Nicola Favretto
Dr. Cora Van Oosten
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • holistic landscape restoration
  • landscape approach
  • ecosystem services
  • socio-ecological systems (SES)
  • stakeholder engagement
  • sustainable livelihoods
  • landscape ecology

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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