Iris Bohnet, Diedrich Bruns, Detlev Ipsen

Landscape dynamics in Germany


1 Introduction

More people than ever before are thinking about the health of the world, and about "Our Common Future". Citizens are increasingly involved in the environmental issues of changing climate, clean air, clean water, and endangered species. In reforming regional and agricultural development in Europe the policy package called AGENDA 2000 has lead to intensive and multi-faceted discussions about the environmental future of individual regions, and about the future of their countryside in particular. Are the planning professions responding appropriately to support the dialectic and sometimes contradictory processes that are associated with globalisation and democratisation in decision making?

Planning conceptually anticipates future actions and their effects (Stachowiak, 1970). To anticipate the influence of changing world markets, demographic structures, and politics on our environmental future is a daunting task. If we limit the range of prognosis and ask specialists of different disciplines to provide ideas for a "Landscape 2025" they will apply their knowledge of the past and current trends in their special field to an uncertain future. (ANL, 1995). Models will be produced for population trends, energy trends, economic trends, trends of soil erosion, trends of natural succession on abandoned fields. Forecasts of demand and supply of water and food, and of climatic changes, are usually more complex, requiring efforts to integrate sectoral knowledge (Alcamo,...). Sufficient information may be gathered, at least on a global scale, to issue warnings on the "Limits of Growth" (Meadows et al., 19..).

The strong impact which global modelling has had on international and national politics has caught the attention of local opinion leaders. They are, in turn, helped by planning that can generate ideas for development which diverge from the well-trodden paths. Presenting them with different scenarios for the future and the respective environmental consequences they may cause can help in the decision making process (Steinitz, 1999). These scenarios are comprehensive instead of eclectic: they are ideas rather than constructed models.

By looking at feasible and culturally acceptable potential changes of German landscapes, this paper discusses possible paths of development and explores scenarios of future landscapes, and the application these scenarios can have in the planning process.



2 General Tendencies of change

2. 1 Current trends influencing German landscapes

German landscapes are, as most landscapes of the world, products of synergetic natural and cultural processes (Thomas, ...; Simmons, ...; Ellenberg, ...., Pott, ...). These processes are ongoing and now include all phenomena fashioned by modern technologies. Thus, a cultural landscape is not an historic idea but always a modern and dynamic place (Meeus et al., 1990). However, people no longer "live off the land". Most production and generation of economic worth is dissociated from the land. People live "in" a landscape, or "with" it (Muhar, 1995). Land-shaping, to produce landscapes, is no longer a mere by-product of primary land-use but a matter dealt with by specialists, such as agriculturists, conservationists, recreationalists, planners, investors, and many others1. More and more land-shaping happens indirectly. Landscapes are moulded by change in consumer preference, for example, when consumers turn to organically-grown food or when industries move to places with natural appeal. These preferences and behaviours constitute the social space which is part of landscape (Agretta, 1979; Ipsen, 1987). Ultimately, landscapes are a creation of the human mind. The perception of the landscape is idolised traditionally in painting, literature and more recently, in the modern media.


Between 1960 and 1980 the lay of the land and the German landscape changed more significantly than ever before. During the last century, during the entire era of industrialisation, dynamic regions such as the Ruhr-District, with mines and steel factories, managed to maintain larger portions of the traditional landscape than most German regions have done in the past forty years.

The effects of Fordism were not solely restricted to the United States of America. The main reasons for this dramatic change even in Germany are rooted in the Ford-istic revolution of social values, lifestyle and economic structure in the entire Western World. Several aspects are important. Firstly, industrial products have become one of the central values of society. In response, farming was made more efficient. The manual labour of centuries had moulded the landscape into an intricate mosaic of diverse fields, meadows, paddocks, hedges, and woodland patches. Farming machines transformed this overnight. Secondly, the separation of work and home created a need for traffic systems. The German roads and highways, world famous for their efficiency, are dissecting landscapes with omnipresent networks of lines. Flora and fauna are left stranded on isolated patches of habitat islands. Fourth, large numbers of individually used automobiles and the telephone system changed the pattern of human settlement. Suburban zones have drained the core of the city and merged with bordering small towns. As the urban image prevails, the countryside has in some places taken on the character of a garden-city.

Despite these changes, the mind-image of landscape remains more or less fixed to this day. To many, landscape is what lies beyond the city, and what looks natural and maybe even quaint. The idea of landscape rarely includes what is now physically part of it, such as the urban and the industrial scene. The traditional ideas of the German landscape are still associated with mixed and small-size farming, the result of medieval husbandry depicted in paintings idealising the "good old days" (Roweck, 1995). These archetypal images are the basis for the creation of leisure-landscapes such as nature parks, recreational river and lakeshores, and mountain trails. Some of these places need to be specially protected to be maintained. Others are very busy and constitute feature elements of Disney-Landscape.

Increasingly, phenomena of urbanisation, specialisation, and marginalisation of agriculture are occurring in regional concentration (Ganzert, 1998), but in most regions they are still present simultaneously (Sieverts, 1997). Their proportions depend on a number of factors, such as population structure and regional economy, proximity to markets, application and effect of agri-environmental schemes, tourism and amenity of the countryside, as well as heritage values and the strength to actively conserve them.

Typically, urbanisation occurs in city regions such as Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and the Ruhr Valley, but it is not restricted to large agglomerations. All towns and villages have been expanding since the post-war boom, a process which is continuing regionally and results in population drain of rural areas, and increasing demands for personal comfort. Where urbanisation is most evident, the countryside no longer "frames" the city, but expanding cities surround remnants of open country. Next to traditional metropolitan regions and their "Edge Cities" (Bruns & Schmidt, 19..) new types of mixed urbanised regions evolve which have been named "Zwischenstadt", the "in-between city" (Sieverts, 1997). As many of these in-between cities developed on fertile lands, the remaining fields can still profitably be used to grow cash crops to be sold to near-by consumers. Competition for undeveloped sites is intense as urban expansion, food production, and a multitude of leisure activities are producing conflicts of interests.

When farming becomes unprofitable, as on poor soils and steep terrain, agriculture is threatened. Where land-use is traditionally dominated by grazing and forests, abandonment of the land is likely to happen. These regions, which were settled relatively late in European human history, were given up and then again, re-settled in the Middle Ages. Here, the forest has encroached on agricultural land during the past decades. The Black Forest and the Northern Heathlands are well known examples of such landscapes. The mixes of different types of small scale farming activities, picturesque villages, and natural-looking woodland are valued for their biological and aesthetic diversity. These are rich landscapes and they harbour a diverse flora and fauna. They are sought after by tourists. Many of them are officially identified as so called "disadvantaged zones". Some are officially protected. There are agri-environmental schemes that are tailored to specifically maintain their character. In Germany, 52% of full-time family farms and 77% of part-time and hobby farms have managed to survive up until now within the disadvantaged zones. From a demographic point of view, most owners are close to 60 years old and have no successors (BMELF 1999).

Regional marginalisation often correlates with intensification elsewhere. Modern milk and meat production, for example, do not necessarily depend on grazing, and pastures of highlands, river valleys, marshes, and heaths, loose their purpose. Fodder is produced on heavily fertilised fields and fed to cows in stables all year around. Other forms of agricultural and regional intensification also correlate with specialisation, such as the growing of corn and of cereals, wine, hops, asparagus, vegetables and fruit. In some regions, one system dominates large tracts of land. In "marginal" regions or in places where niche-markets for high quality food and fodder can be established, several different systems are mixed.

Towards the end of the century even the non-urban landscapes of Germany are becoming compartmentalised, functually and structurally zoned like the urban counterpart did in previous decades. "GATT-Landscapes" evolved where farming businesses adjusted to rules of world markets. Next to these, but distinctly separated from them, public and private institutions maintain historic landscapes, nature preserves, parks and a variety of "Lifestyle-Landscapes" which help satisfying growing numbers of different leisure and outdoor activities.


2. 2 Trend projections - phenomena of change

Globalization is synonymous with increasing competition and specialisation. It means more development, more highways, more railroads, more airports and more pollution. The rising importance of flexibility and fast communication is best seen in the revolutionary impact the Internet has on society. As international markets of ideas, services and goods are becoming easily accessible. The "New Flexibility" may lead to reversal of the separation of work and home or to a new decentralisation of human settlement. This is already evident in the attractive environments of the lake district south of Munich where engineers and managers of booming electronic and biochemical industries prefer to live.

The concept of regionality is receiving attention. There is new emphasis on regional politics, regional products, and regionally specific landscapes. Sense of place is becoming, once again, a strong factor influencing management and design. Aesthetic preferences are shaping the physical structure of landscape on a regional scale, influencing land values and actual land use, industrial investment, urban development, especially for housing, and recreation.

Another trend which is important to consider in designing scenarios of future landscapes in Germany is the declining population. Historically, the country has been through several stages of demographic development. Traditional patterns with high birth rates, high death rate, and a small population, were followed by transitional patterns with high birth rate combined with low death rate. The era of industrialisation was marked by low birth rates and low death rates. Currently, the birth rate is lower than the death rate (Fig. 1). Unless this trend is countered by massive immigration, the population of Germany will be cut in half by the year 2070. Germany is reluctant to internationalise its population through immigration to a level higher than the one the country has already reached at this time.

As these trends continue, parameters of competition for land change. Land for urban development will be in demand in preferred regions. Other regions will experience economic devaluation of land. Demands for food will change. The necessary quantity of agricultural products including imports will be smaller, while the number and proportion of consumers preferring regionally grown food could possibly continue to grow. This would be an opportunity for organic agriculture to claim a larger section of the market.

Compared to urban and industrial environments, the remaining non-urban landscapes offer relatively stable physical patterns. With deeply rooted archetypes in mind, the conservation of cultural landscape, and particularly the beauty perceived in them, has found consistent support across all political parties. Selective conservation of these heritage landscapes could be considered. In fact, conservation may foster a special kind of landscape segregation. With conservation, parts of the country would be gentrified in the sense that landscapes are preserved in their traditional "outfit". This may continue on a small scale within the matrix of urban regions, and in open-air museums which are increasingly popular.

In summary, the probability of a geographically distributed smaller population sprinkled over a quaint countryside, all living equal life styles, is low. On the contrary, the assumption continues to be that urbanised regions will continue to be strong and grow. Economically weak regions will continue to lose population. Urbanised regions may place even greater emphasis on developing networks of open space, leisure landscapes, regional parks and zones for specialised organic gardening for vegetables. "Land-scaping" will be important for each region as their individual images may be an assets in global competition. Clusters of services and industries will continue to develop around airports and along main traffic corridors, reaching out of urban and into non-urban landscapes. In central and east Germany these corridors will respond to Eastern European Countries incorporating into the European Union for several years to come.


2. 3 Images of future landscapes

There is a wide spectrum of opinion for possible paths of future development of landscapes, not only about the type but also about the magnitude of change that will occur. Some observers maintain that socio-economic conditions are slow in changing, that landscapes are altered locally and gradually rather than a revolution, leaving a narrow corridor of uncertainty about future scenarios (Muhar, 1995).

But change could also be dramatic. Within the next fifty years or sooner, agricultural production could withdraw from 30% or as much as 80% of presently used land (ANL 1995). Some new landscapes are already emerging and are visible in their early stages. These are the new city-edge landscapes and "Inbetween-City" landscapes previously mentioned. Man-And-Biosphere (MAB) reserves such as the Rhoen mountains near Frankfurt or the Spree valley near Berlin are examples of landscapes where methods for the conservation of traditional, "historic" landscapes are being tested. Large scale research projects are underway in order to explore how medieval-style herding and ranging of large ungulates may reduce cost of land management. The unequal regional distribution of the smaller German population could result in a variety of different landscapes. Possible scenarios range from designated "new and planned" wilderness and to the actual desertion of lands where the culture to maintain them no longer exists and for which no one feels any longer responsible.

The millennium will mark a period of transition in Germany. Until now, this society, in the rapid evolution of its multi-faceted face, has not yet found a coherent form. Led by demographic and economic forces, there are strong trends towards regional zoning of landscapes on a grand scale. The next two or three decades will probably see a variety of different images, interwoven into a pattern of multiple structures. Old structures will persist, and overlap with the new. Later, only some will be viable. Five scenarios are discussed below which suggest possibilities for future landscapes (Fig. 2):


Food Factories

New Wilderness

Forgotten Regions

Rich Traditional Landscapes

Urban & Avant-garde

#1: Food Factories

Continued trends towards regional concentration and segregation of land-use will include centres for meat production, milk "belts", corn "centres", etc. Overproduction of certain foods will occur and people will search for solutions to find better incomes. The growing renewable fuel on a large scale will be popular temporarily. Subscribing to agro-environmental schemes, which may or may not be subsidised will enable people to live off the land. A considerable portion of the market will be served by organic foods. Thus, large agricultural businesses will manage large tracts of land. These will include modern organic farms and specialised cultivation of wine, vegetables, fruit, etc. It is quite possible that the term "food factory" will not a mere metaphor but that food will be produced in areas which are similar to present day industrial zones. Concentrating around food processing facilities for example, poultry, cattle, and other types of animals may be kept without the need for on-site feed production. Logistic companies which provide services such as transportation and stocking of feed, supplies, and food products, will also be part of such agro-industrial areas.

With new agricultural policy, few landscape changes will be obvious where the large-scale agricultural conglomerates already exist today. The changes will be on mixed farms that have been able to exist in the past with EU-subsidies. These will be reduced within the next decade. Such changes may lead to the abandonment of the land. The need to provide green space near urban centres will demand portions of this abandoned land for creation of recreational facilities.


#2: New Wilderness

Can there be wilderness in Germany? Ever since the notion of abandonment of land began to be accepted as an inevitable fate of large tracts of land with low agricultural productivity, a wealth of literature has appeared expressing ideas about the future purpose of such lands. Fields for aesthetic experimentation and parks designated to experiencing "true" nature are envisioned (Schemel, 1997). Opportunities for bringing natural and dynamic processes back into the all too static European landscape, demanded by biologists for years, may finally be realised (Reif, 1997; Klein et al, 1997; Riecken et al., 1998). To initiate such processes for the academic study on the reduction of human influence on the land, may be sufficient motivation for the creation of wilderness. Economic reasons will also apply. It is expensive to synthetically maintain a traditional cultural landscape, and designating this area as "wilderness" negates the need for costly human maintenance.

In the future, where "New Wilderness" is available, villages are for temporary vacation use only. "Park Rangers" or "State guides" will be employed to manage tourism. Examples of wilderness schemes most frequently cited in the literature are unmanaged alpine regions and large continuous highland forests, and especially river landscapes as archetypes of "natura naturans" (Falter, 1995). Recent ideas include free ranging of domestic animals and combine the preservations of old breeds of cattle, goats, sheep, horses, etc. with the creation of mixed types of multi-functional forest and grasslands (Klein et al., 1997).


#3: Forgotten Regions

While metropolitan zones and recreational lands will continue to develop, other parts of the country will lose population. Once they are drained of people and attractivity, these areas will also disappear from cognitive maps of politicians and managers. They will be nameless spaces and generate no investment. With reduced food production and continuing "rural drain" this land will be taken out of production or, especially within the "Disadvantaged Zone", abandoned. Fields and pastures will be planted with farmed trees or left to natural succession, eventually leading to second-growth forests. Pockets of isolated and determined sub-cultures of people insisting on agricultural subsistence or experimental living may have as their neighbours waste-lands used for garbage dumps of hazardous materials. Museums will be installed to remind us of our lost culture.


#4: Rich Traditional Landscapes

International trade agreements are a motor in reforming European agricultural and development policies. As specified by directive 1257/1999 of the European Council (EC, 1999) the conservation of typical regional landscapes has top priority. In practice, money is directed particularly to medium and small scale farms which created and have maintained rich and diverse landscapes in the past, enabling them to do so in the future. Efforts are strengthened to conserve, and protect where necessary, the natural and cultural heritage of the countryside. Some marginal land is managed as nature reserves or for recreational purposes. Traditional orchards, fields, and grasslands are managed to maintain species rich vegetation and wildlife.

Germany, a large scale open air museum? Aesthetic values of many Germans are traditional. Old landscape are held in high regard. Subsidised to keep encroaching forest at bay and historic grassland commons intact, herds of cattle and goats graze at the city edge of Kassel and even within the city itself. The park administration of the city of Kassel is presently paying a farmer to graze a specially bred herd of prehistoric- looking cattle in the historic gardens of Wilhelmshˆhe Park to save the cost of lawn mowing and thereby providing an attraction to visitors. In another example, the grounds of the World Exhibition site at Hannover, the EXPO 2000, are laid out to artificially create a "neo-commons" which are grazed by a herd of an old breed of sheep. In the South, alpine meadows called "Alm" carry the image of an intact social life ("Heidi") and also produce excellent cheese. Small scale cheese makers have become ethnological motivated stops on school trips, occasions which can be viewed on commercial advertising.

New leisure lands develop in the context of a lovely countryside. Mutually exclusive at first glance, conservation of traditional landscapes may mix well with outdoor sports such as mountain-biking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, and - with recent designs - even golfing. Organic beef farming, outdoor sports, and environmental education for children have been successfully combined in more than one instance. The growing popularity of horseback riding has lent a romantic American ranch touch to some new German barns erected next to traditional farm houses. White fencerows are use to enclose paddocks. Old shingles have made room for solar panels. Wind- powered electricity generators are new landmarks on formerly nondescript hilltops. Such additions to the landscape are objects of great dispute. However, if we look for post-modern German landscapes, they are there already. Agriculture, leisure activities of all sorts, nature and landscape conservation, and environmental education are interwoven with exotic imports to create new types of "lifestyle landscapes".


#5: Urban & Avant-garde

The best examples of organic farming and regional systems of marketing are presently developing in urban regions. "Healthy food" is sold best with images of old country inns or beer gardens, especially when the food is not just sold but also prepared on the premise. Farming locally is productive and sustainable in the sense that it not only supplies regional consumer markets but, at the same time, re-connects people with their natural and cultural environment. "Eatable Landscapes" are places of meaning and identity, places to care for.

In other examples, citizen initiatives have successfully reduced the amount of paved in streets, driveways and private gardens. This enables rain water to drain naturally into the ground and fills empty creeks once again with water. Such revitalisation schemes are common practice in newer housing developments where the most recent advances in surface water treatment and ground water infiltration technology are show cases for international visitors. Where regional marketing systems, advanced environmental technology, and exquisite design combine, real estate prices will rise, affordable only by few. Eventually, these areas will become "gentrified landscapes". Innovative technologies and services looking for a special image will be attracted to such places.

To provide orientation and identification within the vast tracts of monotonous urban sprawl of the sixties and seventies, regional parks of high quality are presently being created. The Rhine-Main-System around Frankfurt, the Filder-Parklands south of Stuttgart, and the international exhibition of the Emscher Valley are well known examples. On the other hand, post-war accomplishments offer fewer interesting examples. These are spaces that have been de-valued by technical infrastructure such as incinerators, garbage disposal, water treatment, cheap services, ugly remains of once flourishing agro-industrial zones, traffic corridors, and occasional low-rent condominiums.

The result of these many different changes that are happening within the metropolitan matrix are special combinations of urban and rural which we may call URAL. They are laboratories of innovative landscape creation. The avant-garde will probably be most active where young families and enthusiastic entrepreneurs will find areas with affordable prices and at the same time good environmental quality.


3 The Upper Schlichem Valley - a case study

3. 1 Current trends of a highland landscape

An example is presented to examine how the five possible future landscape images could materialise in a future landscape. The objective is to illustrate how general tendencies of change might apply in a specific case, and to discuss alternative visions for a unique, and at the same time, dynamic place.

The Schlichem Valley is part of the Swabian Jura in south-west Germany. This limestone highland is one of the least populated and historically poorest regions of Germany. At the beginning of the century small scale family owned farmland and woodland was 95% of the total land of 4664 hectares which make up the Upper Schlichem Valley (Fig. 3). In accordance with general post WW II trends urbanisation grew to 8% in 1965 and has now reached approximately 12%. Economic returns of agriculture are at best, mediocre, and many farmers have turned to better paying jobs. While the average size of farms in Germany is 41 hectare (BMELF 1999), most farmers in the southern Jura were operating on small holdings of sizes between 2 and 10 hectares in 1960. In 1997 the number of farms larger than 20 hectares had more than doubled. By leasing and purchasing land of those who gave up these larger businesses are now holding more than two thirds of the entire agricultural land. This trend also is representative for most German agricultural regions.

Looking more closely at the farms that are still growing, two causal factors emerge: state programmes and natural conditions. Most of the Jura has been included in the so-called "Disadvantaged Zone" in 1976, making several programmes of financial support available. The overall objective of these programmes is to assist people in making the change from traditional agricultural society to modern life. Some farmers were able to take advantage of such programmes, especially agri-environmental schemes and afforestation schemes, loans for building modern farm installations, early retirement funds, etc. As natural growing conditions vary greatly between valley bottom, valley slopes, escarpment, and plateau some farmers profit not only from state programmes but also from their inherent good location. Comparing farms of 1-2 hectares with farms of over 20 hectares and the size of land they cultivate between 1933 and 1997, good locations have given farmers of the municipality of Schoemberg advantages over farmers of municipalities with poorer conditions such as Thieringen (Fig. 4).

Landscape changes of the Upper Schlichem Valley correlate with these socio-economic changes. Historically, as traditional husbandry adapted to the conditions nature offered, cereals were grown in fields on flat ground, while sloping terrain such as the water-logged sites at escarpment foot hills became meadows. The southern exposure of upper slopes was useful for growing fruit trees. Where natural springs have formed small valleys, these are lined with riparian woodlands and adjacent narrow strips of open pasture. In effect, every piece of land that could be used, was used, and only the white limestone escarpment with its steep beech forest remained in a natural state. Sheep were grazed on the shallowest of soils of the plateau for centuries, thus generating several different types of xeric calcareous grasslands. As a local form of mixed agriculture so called Holzwiesen, or "timber meadows", were used to maintain single trees mainly of oak and beech for construction material. A very diverse cultural landscape was formed.

Today, although the landscape is still a mirror of land use systems that no longer exist, there are, at the same time, obvious signs of change. Old fields and meadows are showing signs of natural succession. Others have been deliberately planted with trees or turned into pasture. To identify those areas that have changed and compare them to those that have persisted, maps from 1910 to 1989, and aerial photographs from 1956 to 1988 were overlaid. Landscape dynamics could thus be assessed for almost one century. Area-related quantifications were compared to annual records and statistics supplied by the several state agencies (Bohnet, 1997). The analysis shows where forest and urban expansion occurred, and where, at the same time, fields, pasture, and meadows were reduced. Urbanisation can be observed at all towns and villages.

Taking a closer look at afforestation, their regular grids have taken the place of meadows and pasture at several locations of low agricultural productivity (Fig. 5). The greatest increase of forest happened in the narrow sections of the valley. Locally, tree cover has doubled during the last 100 years. Some villages have been completely engulfed by forest, assuming the image of a Black Forest village rather than one typical for the Jura. As rectangular patches of monotonous tree plantations are changing the valley scenery, the identity of the Jura landscape itself is at stake. Ubiquitous spruce, a tree not indigenous to the Jura, encroached on the Schlichem Creek, isolating villages that had been previously visually connected. Small scale topographic variations on hill sides, small creeks, and narrow riparian woodland strips, are gone. In grassland management, for example, much of the intricate system of manuring, post-winter soil improvement, hay-making, and site-adapted grazing of sheep, is gradually being lost. People with appropriate knowledge of old-style husbandry have become as rare as the landscapes they are capable of maintaining. As indicated by old photographs these landscapes feature rich mosaics of structure and colour, indicative also of great ecological diversity.

With afforestation, urban growth, and ever larger farms at good locations, the character of the Upper Schlichem Valley has changed dramatically within thirty years. Agricultural policy has led farmers into producing new landscapes. Since no financial support was granted, until recently, to the growing of fruit in the "disadvantaged" Jura, the existing apple, pear, and other trees were no longer cared for. These trees, many of them of old and regionally adapted varieties, make up the Schlichem Valley character as much as the many different types of chalk grassland. Very soon, the view of grazing sheep and flowering meadows may soon be gone.

3. 2. Scenarios of landscape futures

At the same time as traditional agriculture loses its economic feasibility, the landscapes produced over the past centuries are increasingly considered an important part of the natural and cultural heritage. They are also of touristic value, as people look for "unspoilt character" in their vacation land. Decisions on additional urbanisation and afforestation must respond to changing cultural and social values. Thus, planning may profit from a discussion about different scenarios of possible future landscapes. For the Upper Schlichem Valley, these may be composed mainly of three of the five images drawn up above: "food factory", "new wilderness", and "rich traditional landscape" (Fig. 6).

Scenario 1 - Market oriented development

Only the best fields on valley bottoms will continue to be used agriculturally. Most other land is taken out of production. Only a few hobby farmers remain on steep hillsides. Abandoned fields and pastures are left to natural succession, eventually turning into beech forests, the climax vegetation of the region.

Scenario 2 - Countryside Conservation

Special agri-environmental schemes are designed to enable small scale farming operations similar to those which created Schlichem Valley landscapes in the past, to manage existing orchards, fields, meadows and pastures. Where site adapted flora and fauna still exist under newly planted spruce tress, some of the recent afforestation are taken out and traditional grassland is being restored. To keep species rich vegetation and wildlife on highland pastures a team of shepherds and nature guides are employed by the regional tourism agency. A herd of locally bred sheep graze free range, providing an attraction for recreationalists, and at the same time increasing chances for natural landscape dynamics.

Scenario 3 - Sustainable Regional Development

A regional system of food production and marketing develops. Farming is productive and sustainable in the sense that it supplies regional consumer markets. The open countryside of the valley is being maintained by agriculture. Plateau grasslands are grazed by sheep. Marginal land is managed as nature reserves, or for recreational purposes.

To investigate which values might be attached to futures expressed in these scenarios, interviews were held with different people from the Upper Schlichem Valley. Discussions with representatives from the agricultural extension service reveal that permits for building and afforestation are not granted easily anymore. After applying no restriction before, 10 of approximately 90 hectares of afforestation applications were not granted in 1997. The valley is part of a "Naturpark", a conservation area with restrictions on changes in land-use (Bruns et al., 1997). A new park management plan is in effect, and as of 1999, no new tree plantation an agricultural land will be permitted.

County and municipal governments are also placing an increasingly higher value on wildlife habitat and countryside conservation. Municipalities have begun to purchase land along the Schlichem Creek in order to remove recent spruce plantings and to open up vistas. The village administration of Hausen-Am-Tann, for example, has bought a strip of some 9 hectares of land along the Schlichem Creek that had been planted with spruce. The trees will be harvested in several stages. A "stream restoration plan" has been proposed and agreed upon. It shows a completely new and natural design for the Schlichem Creek and the adjacent land. The Schlichem Creek will flow again naturally within its alluvial flats.

Several decades of afforestation have reduced the land available for farming. Now, the remaining fields and grasslands are barely sufficient to support those family farms with good long range perspectives. The shepherd has found the total area of open grasslands to be too small for her herd to properly expand. She thinks that agri-environmental schemes should not be directed at turning meadows into fallow land but at a profitable agricultural use, and especially to grazing. The total demand for good grassland exceeds the supply. One reason for the growing interest in grasslands is a set of agri-environmental schemes which supports environmentally friendly forms of land management and, at the same time, the maintenance of traditional landscape character. The management of highland grasslands is also supported in a special programme.

Municipalities, farmers, and the shepherd emphasise, that no part-time farming, and particularly no keeping of sheep as a hobby, should be permitted by the agricultural agency. Part-time and hobby farmers usually have a well-paying job and can operate independently from market prices. State funds may still be collected even if they do not need them to exist. Thus, a competition would arise, against which full-time farmers who have to live off their agricultural income alone would lose. More seriously, hobby farming leads to rising land prices and eventually will force old family farms out of business.

There is a general consensus that a relatively small number of full-time family businesses will farm the Upper Schlichem Valley in the future. Farming will be of low intensity, thus complying with EC directive 1257/1999 and AGENDA 2000 policy. To keep the cultural landscape open and scenically intact are political goals which are supported by a majority in the area. These goals can be realised without having to overcome great obstacles if existing agri-environmental schemes continue.


4 Addressing future in planning

4. 1 Involving agents of change

The above described ecological and historical analysis of the Upper Schlichem Valley has indicated a trend that afforestation will increase and agricultural land decrease. However, the interviewing of representative citizens in addition to using standard methods of landscape analysis identifies local needs which do not support the prognosis made on simple trend projection. According to the preferences of current land users, the Upper Schlichem Valley should be managed as open pasture land. These preferences are supported by European agricultural policy which aims to preserve and develop landscapes which can support the population in places such as the Jura.


In addition to applying and improving models and indicators for environmental quality planners will need to learn more about cultural history and meaning. Planners will need to meet with the people who shape the land. Interviews with individual people and interest groups are only the beginning of participatory processes. Comprehensive surveys, workshops, and public forums are further necessary steps. Not only do these activities deliver a wealth of information needed for planning, but they also awaken interest with participants in influencing the planning itself. Discussions about landscape futures begin. Specific interests and interest groups can be defined which influence the shaping of the land. Terms such as sustainability, character, and identity, may be clarified with reference to specific "limits of acceptable change" (Green 1993).

How landscapes develop in the future will depend on who discusses landscape related issues, and how the discussing is done. To date it is mainly professional landscape ecologists, countryside conservationist, real-estate agents, regional managers and planners who talk about landscapes. Farmers talk about agriculture. Recreationalists look at the beautiful landscape. The urban dweller may be interested in a nice country inn. We have a consumption of landscape, but no discussion.

4. 2 Building a basis of broad support

The path future landscape development will take largely depends on landscape becoming a public topic. People experiencing landscape aesthetics is a promising vehicle to achieve this. Experiencing landscapes happens in practical projects. A municipality realises that landscape beauty is the main attraction for visitors, and involves a commission discussing land management. Students and a citizen initiative can collaborate to restore of a creek. A historical society can build a link to regional history. Artists can interpret landscape. Visitors can interpret landscape, for example if visitor centres offer a wide range of attractive tools (O’Riordan, 1993).


By directly involving people acting as agents of landscape change into analysis, design and planning, more than their knowledge unfolds. The collected ideas and projects of individual farmers, foresters, architects, and traffic planners, form a comprehensive picture. Such "interactive" analysis make up the basis for landscape conferences with citizens and groups who wish to be included in discussing future landscapes. Within the forum of such conferences, citizens will integrate their personal hopes into the present geography. Alternative ways in which landscapes might develop will be explored and people’s preferences for them assessed (Bruns, 1992). Aided by professional planners, scenarios of future development will be designed and discussed (Hunzinger, 1995). Municipal and regional plans resulting from these discussions are rich in ideas and enjoy broad social support.

Close cooperation and consensus building among people, interest groups, and stakeholders, requires appropriate methods and tools. To include large numbers of participants into decision making processes, effective communication methods must be developed. Public participation is greatly enhanced by a common language. One such common language are pictures and images. Advances in modern communication technologies provide opportunities not only to develop participatory techniques which help include many people, but also to use digital visualisation to make interaction between participants easier or even possible (Al-Kodmany, 1999). Tools and techniques include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), computer photo and video manipulations, as well as multi-media planning aided by interactive tools.


5. Final remark

Globalisation and the expansion of the European Community in particular are ensuring dynamic landscape changes in the decades to come. There is enormous potential for landscape transformations on a grand scale. Landscape professionals must experiment and propose ideas for new landscapes designed to accommodate new lifestyles. Some old landscapes may be maintained, cherished for their diversity and recreational opportunities they provide, "but for the most part we have to conceive, design, create and maintain new landscapes fit for the social, economic and environmental needs of the 21st century." (Green & Vos, in prepar.).


1Landscape futures are decided upon, politically speaking, by a minority.