The landscape approach is gaining attention all over the world as a way of addressing the complexity that the integrated management of the land requires. This approach is characterized by its holistic understanding of the land (considering both, environment and society), of the processes that shape the landscapes, and of the multiplicity of actors and sectors that contribute and are affected by these processes. García-Martin present how this landscape approach has been captured and implemented by many initiatives all over Europe. The authors call these initiatives integrated landscape initiatives.
The paper compiled and analyzed a database of European integrated landscape initiatives. More than 300 initiatives were collected and included inviting their representatives to a detailed online survey about the aims, functioning, activities, participants, funding options, success, and challenges of the initiatives. The authors found that these initiatives pursue a great variety of aims, in line with their holistic approach to the territory and the heterogeneity of the landscapes where they act. Nature conservation and cultural heritage enhancement were among the most frequently mentioned ones, but always in combination with many other goals, such as landscape beauty enhancement, rural livelihoods improvement, fostering sense of place and personal fulfilment, improving governance structures, raising awareness, and many others. This variety of aims requires the involvement of different sectors and stakeholders, cooperating at different levels in order to find joint strategies for the landscapes they live in. That way, integrated landscape initiatives act as bridging organizations, mediating between them, building trust and fostering social learning. But the action of these initiatives alone is not enough. They lack of stable and long term financial possibilities, politic support, and a higher commitment of the society and the markets to make their actions more effective.