Human-Nature Connectedness in Simplified Landscapes: Exploring Relational Values

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

From soy monocultures in the Amazon to palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia and agricultural intensification in Europe: landscape simplification is taking place all over the world. In a recently published paper, Riechers et al. (2020) argue that in addition to ecological degradation, the simplification of landscapes can also have detrimental effects on human-nature relationships. Using a landscape sustainability science framing, the paper explores interconnections between ecological and social changes taking place in rural landscapes. Here, the authors draw on the concept of relational values to provide a conceptual framework that hypothesizes ecological, social-ecological and social consequences resulting from landscape simplification.

Around the world, the face of agriculture is changing. Traditional agricultural landscapes commonly provide a balance of provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. In contrast, simplified agricultural landscapes largely supply the single provisioning service of crop production, meanwhile sacrificing other types of services and degrading ecological functions. By trading…

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