Cultural functions of ecosystem services in national and regional policies towards an integrated and sustainable management of rural landscapes

Kinga Xénia Havadi-Nagy, Alessia Usai


Contemporary ecology has played a key role in the search for innovative and holistic approaches to policy-making, as it provided new models and tools for the analysis of environmental relationships linking the mankind to the biotic and a-biotic components of human living ecosystems, and for the identification and quantification of the economic, social and cultural benefits that communities receive by them in terms of services. An increasing number of international and national studies focuses on these Ecosystem services (ESs) to build a common framework and (re)define public policies on environment and land-uses. Policies that are still characterized by a partial approach which hinders any form of integration and coordination reducing the effectiveness of interventions. This is a key point especially for the historical agricultural landscapes where the reduction of multifunctional agriculture, the intensification of agribusiness and urban expansion have caused fragmentation of ecosystems, disruption of natural ecological corridors and a significant loss of biodiversity. The paper focuses on these issues by investigating the role of ESs in the definition of rural policies for historical agricultural landscapes in Europe, through a comparative analysis of qualitative nature which involves policy documents produced at the national and regional level in two European regions at the NUTS 2 statistical level, Sardinia (IT) and Central development region (RO), selected as case studies.


ecosystem services; historical agricultural landscapes; rural policies; Sardinia; Central development region

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