Landscape 2018 - Frontiers of agricultural landscape Research

Monday, March 12, 2018 (All day) to Friday, March 16, 2018 (All day)
Muencheberg, Germany
Related GLP Member: Peter Verburg

Rationale and Aims:

Agricultural landscapes are shaped by human activities and are subject to permanent change through the interplay of natural processes, land use and societal developments. Knowledge about the underlying processes of landscape dynamics at all relevant spatial and temporal scales is the prerequisite for sustainable landscape management.

The aim of the conference is to present recent advances in landscape research to enhance the development of sustainable agricultural land use and landscape strategies. The particular objective is to bring together key findings from relevant disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches as well as from basic and application-oriented research.


The conference focuses on recent scientific work related to:

(1) The functioning of landscapes, with a focus on element cycles and microbiomes including approaches to scale up from individual processes to the landscape scale;

(2) Sustainable land use practices and appropriate governance systems, which secure the provision of food and fibre as well as other ecosystem services and biodiversity;

(3) Advances in science toward the development of an integrated landscape theory.

General Programme (main sessions):

I. Landscape Functioning – Element Cycles and Microbiomes

Climate and land use change as well as management practices determine carbon and nitrogen dynamics in agricultural landscapes, which affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and C and N sequestration. The relevance of soil microbiome properties (e.g., biodiversity or activity parameters) as relevant regulative forces of C or N sequestration and net emission rates at the landscape scale is largely unresolved. Modelling approaches at regional to global scales will also greatly benefit from better knowledge about soil microbiology. The session’s focus is on element cycles and microbiomes in agricultural systems from a landscape perspective. The session aims to present state-of-the-art knowledge of the link between C and N dynamics and microbiomes of agricultural landscapes (including land-atmosphere interactions) and identifies research needs in the fields of soil microbiology, soil science, and related disciplines to improve our understanding and modelling of the role of the microbiome on landscape processes.

Session Chairs:

  • Laurent Philippot (INRA, FR)
  • Steffen Kolb (ZALF, GER)

Scientific Committee:

  • Joergen Olesen (Univ. of Aarhus, DK)
  • Andreas Richter (Univ. of Vienna, AU)
  • Pete Smith (Univ. Aberdeen, SCO)
  • Harry Vereecken (FZ Juelich, Univ. Bonn, GER)


II. Land Use and Governance – Managing Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity at the Landscape Scale

Sustainable use of agricultural landscapes requires research on land use strategies at the landscape scale that focusses not only on the provision of agricultural commodities, but also on the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity by means of adapted management and governance approaches. The integration of diverse societal preferences at the landscape scale can reveal and thus help to avoid or minimize land use conflicts.

This session addresses the fundamental questions: a) if and how can agricultural landscapes be managed and governed under economic pressure, and b) which innovations in land management and social systems support the development of multifunctional landscapes?

Session Chairs:

  • Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura (ZALF, HU-Berlin, GER)
  • Bettina Matzdorf (ZALF, U Hannover, GER)

Scientific Committee:

  • Leon Braat (WUR, NL))
  • Brendan Fisher (U Vermont, USA)
  • Adrienne Grêt-Regamey (ETH Zuerich, CH)
  • Eva Lieberherr (ETH Zuerich, CH)


III. Landscape Integrated Systems Analysis – Towards a Landscape Theory

Landscapes are characterized by tight coupling and feedback loops between numerous abiotic features, biota and man, forming highly complex systems from which unexpected behaviour can emerge. A high degree of inter-connectedness can also result in substantial constraints on the system’s behaviour as a whole. System behaviour rarely becomes evident if single processes in landscapes are studied in isolation. A systems approach is therefore required to effectively study landscape processes from a landscape system perspective.

Such systems perspective requires both practical methods and a theoretical basis for landscape research. This session addresses the following issues related to the development of landscape systems research and theory: Is there evidence for emerging behaviour or fundamental constraints that determine landscape dynamics? How can landscape dynamics be systematically studied? Which pathways for developing a general theory of landscape processes are suggested? Examples and case studies from all disciplines are welcomed.

Session Chairs:

  • Peter Verburg (VU Amsterdam, NL)
  • Gunnar Lischeid (ZALF, Universität Potsdam, GER)

Scientific Committee:

  • Erling Andersen (Københavns Universitet, DK)
  • Cécile Albert (IMBF, FR)
  • Martha Bakker (WUR, NL)
  • N.N.



Prof. Dr. Klaus Müller

Head of Institute of Socio-Economics
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) 
Eberswalder Straße 84
15374 Müncheberg

T +49 (0)33432 82-207 
F +49 (0)33432 82-308

PDF icon Download the conference programme