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Land Use Policy 79 (2018) 556–574

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Land Use Policy


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/landusepol

Conceptualisation and perception of the landscape and its changes in a T


transboundary area. A case study of the Southern German-French
borderland
Éva Konkoly-Gyuró
Institute of Forest Resource Management and Rural Development, Chair of Landscape Science, University of Sopron, BajcsyZsilinszky u. 4, H-9400, Sopron, Hungary

A R T I C LE I N FO A B S T R A C T

Keywords: The interaction of human civilisation with nature is reflected in landscape that we consider as a model of totality,
Landscape conceptualisation a micro-cosmos, providing us a perfect terrain to analyse and systematise knowledge on relationships of its
Landscape perception elements. Since we consider humans as constitutive part of the landscape, the way of thinking of stakeholders is
Landscape character crucial in landscape formation. In this study, we present the perception of local professionals on the landscape
Landscape change
character and landscape changes in a German-French transboundary area, in the southern section of the Upper
Border landscapes
Rhine Valley between Freiburg/Breisgau and Colmar. Broadening the knowledge about the common and dif-
ferent attitudes and motivations of local professionals helps transboundary cooperation in order to preserve the
unique landscape qualities and avoid landscape degradation. The research was an inductive social study based
on in-depth interviews. Respondents’ narratives on present characteristics and changes of the landscapes have
been analysed, compared and theorised by the grounded theory method. The assessment led first to the defi-
nition of seven interpretation axes, (ontological, epistemological, temporal, operative, causal, spatial, and per-
sonal), that gave a logical structure to order the information of the interviews and to describe the results. These
dimensions also served as a red-thread for the formulation of thirteen concluding theories emerging from the
assessment of the narratives. They answer the questions: What is landscape? How landscape characteristics can
be captured? What happens, why, when and where in the landscape? The study revealed the similarities and
differences of the attitudes, and the patterns of thoughts of German and French professionals. The study brings
new insight in the field of transboundary landscape study while confirming existing results on the main topics of
landscape changes and driving forces. The paper proves that future strategies have to deal with often-contra-
dictory landscape concepts in neighbouring countries, while their understanding facilitates communication and
helps harmonise goals in policies and management.

1. Introduction In this study, we present approaches of local professionals toward


landscape character and landscape changes in a German-French trans-
The future of our civilisation depends on understanding the re- boundary area in the southern section of the Upper Rhine Valley be-
lationships that create reality and drive processes in landscapes, as in tween Freiburg/Breisgau and Colmar (Fig. 1). Studies of the different
all other environmental systems. The deeper and more completely we concepts in this borderland allow gathering knowledge that helps to
know them, the fewer conflicts between human and natural systems understand the common and different attitudes, motivations, and goals
occur. Landscape is a micro-cosmos, a model of totality, providing a in the two countries. Broadening the scope of mental reflection helps
perfect terrain to analyse and systematise knowledge about the inter- transboundary cooperation in a harmonised landscape management
actions of its elements. Landscape is both a state, mirroring the con- and common actions.
sequence of the processes and also a changing, dynamic reality. The The concepts we are dealing with are landscape perception, land-
speed of the changes, their continuity or transformation are important scape character, landscape change and border landscapes. Landscape
characteristics of landscapes. Since we consider humans as constitutive was first conceived in the Renaissance when the gates of the closed
part of the landscape, the mentality, the value systems, the prevailing cities and castles as well as the mind of artists first opened toward the
paradigms, and all in all the way of thinking is crucial in landscape larger natural space and it was represented in art (Antrop, 2006).
formation. Landscape – according to the old Duch word ‘landskab’ - was

E-mail address: konkoly-gyuro.eva@uni-sopron.hu.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.08.019
Received 20 May 2018; Received in revised form 12 August 2018; Accepted 12 August 2018
0264-8377/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
É. Konkoly-Gyuró Land Use Policy 79 (2018) 556–574

understood as territory that refers to community, property and justice. complexity (Homburger, 2012; Leimgruber, 2005; Paasi, 2011; Roll
It denotes ‘a nexus of law and cultural identity’ (Olwig, 1996, 2002). et al., 2010; Rumley and Minghi, 1991; Wastl-Walter, 2011), while
Later Humboldt, having a biogeographical eye, looked at landscape as others deal with special aspects of the borderlands. In our study areas,
an object of scientific research, without denying its human aspects and there are complex descriptive studies of ‘Oberrheinlande’(Metz, 1925)
aesthetic qualities (Antrop and Van Eetvelde, 2017). In France Vidal de and comparative physical and phytogeographical descriptions of the
La Blache (1922) recognised the role of the local community in orga- Black Forest and the Vosges from the second half of the 20th century
nising landscape, saw the holistic unity of landscapes and aimed at (Eggers, 1964; Frankenberg, 1979), as well as more recent ecological
giving a synthetic ‘tableaux’ of idealistic landscape models (Claval, (Gallusser and Schenker, 1992; Stadelbauer, 1991) historic (Krieg,
2004). In the first decades of the 20th century, philosophers and artists 2008), economic (Euba, 1990) and integrative (Herrbach-Schmidt,
in Spain conceptualised landscape as a space co-created, perceived and 2012) studies. Identifying the character of a landscape requires a
represented by man, where nature is the raw material that is experi- complex assessment of natural, cultural landscape elements and their
enced, formed by man and art plays a basic role in its representation perception. Perceptual issues are especially challenging; thus there are
(Csejtei and Juhász, 2012; Ortega y Gasset, 2008). According to the limitations in adopting this concept in borderland research and only
German philosophical theory, landscape is created by perception of the rare examples can be found that include them (Cancela d’Abreu et al.,
nature in its entirety (Ritter, 1963; Simmel, 1913). This philosophical 2004; Konkoly-Gyuró et al., 2010).
concept diverted the idea of landscape clearly toward nature, con- Landscapes have their own character, and co-evolve with people
tributing to the mainstream geomorphological landscape research in living and acting in them. Thus landscape is an integral part of the
the 1970s (Geipel, 1978; Pécsi, 1967-1988; Pécsi, 1967). This physical regional, and national identity (Antrop and Van Eetvelde, 2017;
geographical emphasis in landscape geography was clearly visible as Schama, 1995; Van Mansvelt and Pedroli, 2003). Landscape perception
highlighted also by Antrop and Van Eetvelde (2017). Afterwards, in the matters as it reflects the value system of inhabitants, influences deci-
1980s” primarily in North America, geographers have sought to re- sions, and represents their satisfaction or demands. Their requirements
formulate landscape as a concept whose subjective and artistic re- show how far they feel responsible toward the state of a landscape and
sonances are to be actively embraced. They allow for the incorporation its driving forces. Knowing each other’s opinions initiates commu-
of individual, imaginative and creative human experience into studies” nication and participation in decisions. That is why social research on
(Cosgrove, 1985). Recent French studies also emphasize the role of landscape conceptualisation and valuation have recently become more
human perception through artistic landscape representation (Raymond frequent (Bieling, 2013; Buijs and Elands, 2013; Felber-Rufer, 2006;
et al., 2015). According to the English concept, landscape comes into Hook, 2006; Hunziker, 2000; Hunziker et al., 2008; Jaago et al., 2008;
being from the relationship of people and place (Swanwick, 2002). All Rogge et al., 2011; Soliva and Hunziker, 2009; Pinto-Correia and
these concepts include anthropogenic features influencing nature as Azeda, 2017). Our research on perception of transboundary landscapes
well as human perceptions and representations. belongs to the series of qualitative studies that highlight concepts and
Perception is the experience of the world (Merleau-Ponty, 2012; attitudes of local professionals.
Ingold, 2000), which inherently belongs to landscape, representing the
mental connection between man and his living space. As perception of 2. Materials and methods
the space intends the totality, it allows capturing the character. Land-
scape character, emphasised in the European Landscape Convention and Landscape perception, our core issue, is a form of man-nature in-
defined as a perceptual reality of factual combination of landscape teraction that has been analysed amongst theoretically selected pro-
elements, emerges through human-nature interactions (Antrop, 2005; fessionals, in a concrete study area, where respondents represented two
Council of Europe, 2000; Konkoly-Gyuró et al., 2010; Swanwick, 2002). nations with different cultural approaches and attitudes. The research
Identification of the present state of a landscape draws on the character method was an inductive social study, resulting in concluding theories
concept in that perception plays a basic role. that emerged from the responses of in-depth interviews (Babbie, 2016).
Nevertheless, landscape is a dynamic, living entity, thus knowledge The process of the research started by the definition of the study area
on changes are also crucial for research (Antrop, 2005; Konkoly-Gyuró and the formulation of the questions that served as a red-thread for the
et al., 2010). Landscape transformation is a result of manifold interac- in-depth interviews. The questions were the following:
tions that can be best represented by complex issues, as land cover and
land use (Konkoly-Gyuró et al., 2017). Land cover pattern reflects the - ow do you perceive the character, the main natural and cultural
state of an area, it is the result of land uses. This latter is a continuous characteristics of the landscape units (Rhine plain, piedmonts and
process using the actual potentials of a particular area to fulfil various Middle Ranges) in France and Germany?
human needs. Beyond natural factors, land use is widely influenced by - What are the most important landscape features in your eyes that
underlying socio-economic drivers (Plieninger et al., 2016), amongst you consider as heritage, worth preserving and what are the con-
others by the geopolitical situation. Transboundary landscapes, divided flicts, and threats in the landscape?
by state borders are especially good examples of a comparison of the - What are the main transformations in the landscapes that you have
similar or divergent processes, often resulting in different characters in experienced in the study area?
the same biophysical landscape (Konkoly-Gyuró et al., 2010). - How do you consider the changes; what is positive or negative for
Borders in space delineate areas with special character. Natural you?
borders of habitats and physical geographical landscape borders are
transitional. On the contrary, artificial, administrative borders are strict Descriptions of the present characteristics and the oral history
lines; however, border zones along borderlines always have certain narratives of the landscapes (Perks and Thomson, 2006) have been
particularities and transitional features. Both transitional and strict transcribed. It became clear that the content of the narratives is richer
borders signify divisions, but they have an important function in the than the pure responses to the questions. Recognising this fact led to the
formation of the identity of an area. Borders represent not only se- interpretive methodology (Khan, 2014) of grounded theory (Charmaz,
paration but also connection between the neighbouring entities. In our 2006; Strauss and Corbin, 1998). Research questions were not answered
study, we have landscape borders being mainly transitional and state by simple addition of the statements categories, but they were inter-
borders formed by the River Rhine. One of our research questions fo- preted by their logical structure and relationships. Thus, the qualitative
cuses on the differences within the same geographical landscape types content analysis was a theoretical assessment in that the main logical
on the opposite sides of the German-French border. Borders and bor- structure and distribution of the statements was defined. A basic sta-
derlands are the subject of manifold studies. Some studies stress their tistical analysis backed up the theoretical assessment. It was followed

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by the descriptive summarising of the results, showing the inter- Table 1


connections of the statements, and the similarities and dissimilarities of Land cover proportion of Germany, France and the entire study area (calculated
the German and French approaches. Theories were formulated as con- from the CORINE Land Cover map).
clusions that may serve as starting points for further deductive research.
Using the method of grounded theory, it was also possible to point out Germany France Study area
further research topics that are relevant for the perception of the
Urban 11.80% 10.40% 11.10%
landscape.
Arable land 24.10% 41.90% 32.40%
Vineyard 9.80% 9.20% 9.50%
2.1. Study area Complex cultivation patterns, orchard 2.50% 3.50% 3.00%
Forest 37.50% 32.80% 35.30%
Grassland 13.90% 0.90% 7.80%
For our transboundary landscape study, a transect of the Southern Wetland, water 0.40% 1.40% 0.90%
Upper Rhine valley from the Vosges till the Black Forest between

Colmar and Freiburg (Fig. 1) was selected. In France, it is part of the


Alsace region and in Germany it belongs to the ‘Bundesland’ Baden
Würtenberg. The area extends 2130 km2, and includes 90 settlements in
France and 49 settlements in Germany. The physical geographical set-
ting is similar; there is a kind of mirror situation on the two sides of the
River Rhine, which is the central axis of the study area on a length of
37 km. The Rhine formed a rich alluvial plain extending between the
forested Middle Ranges, the Vosges in France and the Black Forest in
Germany. Their transition zones, the piedmonts, are characterised by
an ancient viticulture tradition, predominantly in Alsace. One particu-
larity of the study area on the German side is that two volcanic island
mounts rise from the plain: Kaiserstuhl and Tuniberg, extensively
covered by vineyards (Fig. 2). There is ample literature describing the
landscapes of the study area, however we purposefully did not use them
because our aim was to understand the concepts, and approaches of
local professionals and to present the landscape through their lens
(Table 1).

Fig. 1. The study area in the Southern Upper Rhine Valley.

Fig. 2. CORINE Land Cover of the study area (EEA, 2012).

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2.2. Data collection by interviewing and processing the information We found wide range mental images in the answers. There are
simple statements referring to the real existence of one special land-
2.2.1. Interviewing and defining the basic units of the analysis scape element: e.g. “there are wind-turbines in the Black Forest”; or on
We applied semi structured in-depth interviews with professionals unique valuable features: e.g. “cathedrals and castles built from the red
in Germany and France. Nearly 50 interviews were carried out in 2013- sandstone”. An example of complex description of a landscape unit that
15. In order to achieve the equal professional and national distribution were kept together: e.g. “Kaiserstuhl is the most significant in the area,
of the respondents, 20 German and 20 French interviews were chosen highly diversified both visually and ecologically due to the many different
for the assessment. Interviewees have been selected first by snowball habitats. It has a mosaic-like structure, where primary dry grasslands and
sampling than by theoretical sampling, after recommendations. vineyards are the most important elements. Despite the farm reallocation
Majority of them were between 40–60 years, and about 70% of them many wonderful places can be found there, small patches of natural habitats
were male. The distribution of professions is shown in Table 2. and forest on the top.” This complex mental image of a particular area
The study of landscape perception of local experts implies two steps unit best reflects the unity and integrity of landscape conceptualisation
of mental construction since we did not observe the landscape directly, if they remain undivided. It shows how in the mind of the respondents
but through the narratives of those people, who have lived in the area the more basic elements such as topography, habitat, land use, or visual
for a longer time (30–40 years), or have researched it in academic in- quality are building blocks of the entire landscape. This was a con-
stitutes. They constructed both concrete mental pictures and abstract ceptual methodological decision we made for the interpretation of the
ideas about landscape. Through them, we had to understand and con- statements. The comparison of the MI-s with the landscape paintings
ceptualise the cognition of the perceiver. The statements of the inter- seems to be a good way to confirm this decision. Similarly to pictures
views caused new questions and conclusions to emerge. It is an addi- focusing on one or few unique objects: e.g. trees, particular buildings,
tional task of the researcher to discover these implicit and indirect there are paintings with broader panoramic view of the landscape.
contents of the answers, to better display the attitudes and the struc- These latter should be kept together like complex mental images.
tures of the thinking of the respondents. Nevertheless, whatever view is behind the descriptions – simple objects
Although recent studies on landscape conceptualisation mainly use or broader landscape units – the answers, like the paintings, are re-
single words that respondents of inquiries have to say within a pre- flections on the reality through different mental images. The degree of
defined time, usually within a few seconds (Buijs and Elands, 2013; complexity has two dimensions: one is thematic and the other is geo-
Wartmann et al., 2015), we followed a different track. We have con- graphic. Thematic complexity means the assortment of landscape ele-
sidered the statements, also called ‘mental images’ (MI) as basic units of ments and their relationship present in a statement; geographical
the qualitative assessment. These thought-units are the conceptual complexity refers to the spatial scope. One type of complex description
building blocks of the answers. In social science, they are often referred focuses on the natural factors, others concentrate on land use and
to as a concept or conception. Kaplan (1964) notes that a concept is a cultural elements and there are some well balanced between the two.
construct, something we create. In our case it seems to be adequate to
use the term “mental image” for several reasons. Firstly because the 2.2.2. Systematic and thematically ordered transcription of the narratives
term ‘image’ explicitly relates to the view that inherently relates to the The answers have been ordered and categorised in several steps;
term “landscape. Similarly to the mental maps (Soini, 2001), the mental each of them signifies a more abstract level of classification and cate-
image is also a cognitive reflection on reality of landscape of course gorisation until formulating the concluding theories. The first step was
with strong visual implications. Thus, when talking about landscapes, the description and ordering of the statements answering the questions
there are always real pictures in peoples' minds, not only abstract ideas. of the interviews. It was necessary because the respondents often pro-
Secondly, because the term ‘concept’ is broader (idea of a class of objects, vided ample, overarching narratives concerning the present and past
general notion, according to the Oxford English Dictionary) and can state, processes and driving forces. Thus, it was necessary to sort the
encompass several mental images and here we do emphasise their information without losing the logical interconnections and complexity
elementary character, serving as basic data and starting points for the of the mental images. At the same time, the phenomenon described,
assessment. Thirdly, the use of concept and conception is not fully were identified and coded according to the area or landscape type they
consequent in the literature. According to Strauss and Corbin (1998), referred to. There are statements for the whole study area, for Germany
concepts have the same meaning as our mental-images. Babbie (2016) or France in general, for a landscape type in one country or in both. A
says it is the conception, which flows into a concept. Charmaz (2006) further aspect was the neutrality or valuation of the answers. We dis-
thinks a concept is generated, similarly to Kaplan who defines concept tinguished between value-free or positive and negative statements.
as a ‘family of conceptions’ (Kaplan, 1964). Some were neutral: “warm slopes on the piedmonts”and “an enormous
infrastructural development on the Rhine plain.” Others were positive:
Table 2 “unique dry grasslands on the warm slopes”; or negative: “the development
Employment and professional distribution of the respondents. of linear infrastructure threatens the connectivity of habitats and results in
pollution and noise.”
Ge Fr Ge Fr A second step was the thematic ordering and categorising of the
statements in an MS Excel file, called “source table” (Table 3). We took
Associations, NGO-s 8 7 Agricultural-engineers 4 3 care on formatting in order to keep and display the information about
Academics 4 2 Forest engineers 1 1
geographical reference units, nationality of the respondents and neu-
Government officers 5 9 Forest engineers with practice in 3 1
landscape protection trality or judgements of the statements. Rows contain the information
Consultancy 3 2 Geographers 1 2 about landscape elements or complex descriptions of particular land-
enterprise scape units as follows:
Total 20 20 Biologists, ecologists, with practice in 6 6
nature conservation
Landscape architects 3 2
- basic natural elements or factors: climate, relief, geology, water,
Architects 1 2 flora, fauna, habitats;
Archaeologists, historians 1 1 - land cover/land use (LC/LU) of vegetated surfaces: arable land,
Human landscape researchers 1 forest, grasslands, vineyards, land cover pattern;
Economists 1
- cultural/built elements: unique cultural heritage elements, infra-
Total 20 20
structure, industry, architectural character and quality, settlements

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Table 3
Examples of the thematic categorisation of the statements (source table).

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Legend: “G”: no. of German respondent, “F”: no. of French respondent; light grey: entire study area; yellow:
lowland; orange: piedmont; green: mountains; light green: Kaisestuhl; italic: mentioned explicitly as value or
threat. (For interpretation of the colours in this table, refferring to the web version of this article).

spatial structure in the landscape; strategies.


- complex characteristics of landscape types or particular landscape
units. Both the categories of the rows and the columns are predominantly
determined by the core topic (landscape) itself and by the questions of
Categories of the columns: the interviews but partly they emerged from the narratives. It is obvious
that landscapes consist of natural and cultural/anthropogenic elements.
- present state of the material landscape elements, or landscape units However, the fact that some respondent gave complex descriptions of
(quantitative characteristics); particular landscape types or units was a content-related result emer-
- present perceptual state (qualitative – visual, emotional – char- ging from the interviews. By creating the category ‘complex mental
acteristics, impressions); images,’ we included these into the assessment methodology. They are
- transformation of the landscape elements, or landscape units similar to the statements on the functions of landscape elements, or
(change processes); landscape units and the functional conflicts, as well as answers referring
- landscape functions, conflicts and economic driving forces, future to the economic driving forces and future strategies.

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Table 4
The distribution of the main categories of the landscape conceptualization.

All statements (PRESENT STATE) Ge Fr All %

Natural elements 92 53 145 12%


(68) (35) (103) (15%)
LC/LU of the vegetated surfaces 341 148 489 40%
(191) (71) (262) (39%)
Cultural/built elements 219 135 354 30%
(106) (65) (171) (25%)
Complex description of landscape types or units 96 116 212
(70) (73) (143)
768 452 1200
(435) (244) (679)

2.2.3. Theoretical and statistical assessment of the mental images


When assessing the answers, the qualitative, interpretive method
was backed up with quantitative statistical analysis. The content of the
source table was coded using acronyms depicting the content of the
statement according to the categories of the rows and columns of the
source table. Codes also refers to values or threats mentioned and they
give the causality of the answers. It means that simple factual statement
describing a concrete landscape feature were distinguished from those
explaining natural, land use and socio-economic drivers, or causal re-
lationships, e.g. climate and land cover or infrastructure development Fig. 3. Scheme of the landscape conceptualization.
and habitat fragmentation. This made possible the distinction of the
static or dynamic view, and the factual or causal thinking of the re- statements are, e.g.: “The Vosges are rougher, sharper”(rauer,
spondents. schroffer). Black forest:“darker, more geometric, really black forest due
The categorisation and coding of the mental images formed the to the extensive spruce plantation”.
basis of the statistical analysis that made clear the weight of the cate- 3 When – the temporal dimension: the statements about the present,
gories and their attributes. Only simple proportional statistics were past or future show the static or dynamic view, seeing the state or
used, e.g. in Table 4 that served as basic orientation and backup to the the process. Past changes were explicitly asked during the inter-
theoretical valuation. We purposefully did not do imply sophisticated views, however many respondent also mentioned future tasks or
regression and cluster analysis because we put emphasis on the logical strategies: e.g. “traditional forms of forest managements have to be
interpretation of the results, taking care about the emerging robust and maintained.” Since “future” appeared as a task, we analysed this
finer intellectual structures and interrelations. dimension within the operational dimension.
4 What happens – the operational, functional dimension refers to
2.2.4. Interpretation of the information and description of the results and management, governance, functions of landscape units, or elements.
conclusions Strategies, policies, attitudes, traditions and their impact were also
When identifying the main structure and distribution of the mental included. This dimension includes the underlying cultural and socio-
images – according to the structure of the source table and the coding – economic drivers.
seven clear dimensions emerged as theoretical axes of the assessment. 5 Why – the causal dimension of the answers relates to the driving
They are presented as interconnected dimensions of landscape con- forces of the state or processes occurring in the landscape. The im-
ceptualisation in Fig. 3. pacts/drivers mentioned in the interviews had three types: a)
Natural elements or factors, as causes of particular landscape char-
1 What – the thematic/ontological dimensionhighlights what re- acteristics: e.g.: “the geological setting of the Kaiserstuhl is different
spondents spoke about. This basic step reveals the landscape con- from the piedmont of the Black Forest, therefore the land use and the
ceptualisation based on its constitutive elements listed in the rows of landscape scenery differ significantly”; b) Land use, as human driver
the source table: natural, cultural/built landscape elements, land represents the direct anthropogenic impact: e.g., “Meadow orchards
cover/land use or landscape unit. In addition, the categories show fall a victim of urban development” or “abandonment because of giving
whether answers are partial/analytical or complex/integrative, up traditional land use forms” or, “valuable Arnica-meadows on steep
whether landscape is an aggregate of parts, or it is an inseparable slopes were afforested in Münstertal since the 1990s.”; c) Socio-
whole. The basic analytic view is reflected by mentioning some key economic drivers, such as indirect, human impacts influencing land
natural or cultural elements such as climate, relief, waters, cultural use, consisting of political, economic, legal, institutional, conven-
heritage, and settlements or taking particular landscape units as tional, paradigmatic issues, traditions and mentality, e.g.: "Pride of
basis and providing a complex description. (See examples above as France is the quality of vineyards and the know-how of wine making is
“mental-images.”) given from father to son.” Causal statements cannot be separated from
2 How –the epistemological dimension: the way of conceptualising the thematic, temporal and operational dimension, thus we discuss
the characteristics and quality of landscape features. Simple state- them together.
ment are e.g.: “the Rhine plain in Germany kept a certain structural 6 Where – the spatial, geographical dimension is the substantial
diversity.” Comparisons are, e.g.: “there is more evergreen and landscape dimension. As respondents’ interpretations of the area are
monotony in the Black Forest than in the Vosges.” Material, factual not uniform, this dimension represents different spatial concepts. A
features are, e.g.: “the roads in the forest are asphalt covered, the variety of geographical reference units – regional, administrative,
arable land parcels are large”. Perceptual, aesthetic characteristics, geographical, landscape types or areas – occur in the narratives,
mainly visual aspects, sometimes general impressions, affective showing the divers approaches and importance of the particular

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landscape entities. landscape and interactions. In this respect, we can see a difference
7 Who – the human dimension is the overarching aspect of the study, amongst the respondents. Germans gave three times more answers for
showing the differences between the French and German re- the state, and double for the dynamic. The MIs related to the land cover
spondents. Since the number of the interviewees was equal and their pattern, showing complex, spatial thinking, are in the middle. German
professional distribution was also highly similar on the both sides of and French answers are the closest in describing dynamic character-
the border, the statements were not analysed by different profes- istics, although its importance is relatively higher in France.
sions. The comparison between the respondents of the two countries Forests are determinant in landscape conceptualisation (30%) and
was made throughout the entire assessment related to all dimension also in land cover proportion (35% of the entire study area).
of the study. The main differences are summarised at the end in the Surprisingly, forests have a similar significance on plains and moun-
conclusions. tains. The underlying concept however is different is the two areas. On
the plain, the Rhine-belt with its riparian forests and forest belts on the
The conclusions and formulation of theories have two layers. The first arable fields, as representatives of nature in that highly industrialised
was derived from the above-described dimensions. In addition, the in- and urbanised landscape are the most significant for respondents. The
terpretation of the narratives and the logical connections amongst the woods of the mountains appear as an essential landscape element, a key
dimensions let new aspects emerge. These formations of theories are feature of the Black Forest and the Vosges. It is basic to their livelihood
implicit information of the answers that led to an additional layer of and the key of the landscape scenery. A forest is the ideal nature, but
concluding theories. due to the recent intensive plantations, they threatens the “wonderful
open cultural landscape.” Forests are responsible for both welfare and
3. Results well-being, however not always in positive sense. The conflicts between
livestock grazing traditions and the extensive red and spruce planta-
3.1. Thematic/ontological and epistemological dimension tions, as well as the archetypical mental image of the forest as wild-
erness emerged strongly. At the heart of the landscape concept are
The first step of the assessment clarified what did interviewees forests, however, the opinions are ambivalent. It is something stable
characterised. Thus, the starting point was the classification of the and substantial. Despite awareness of the structural and functional
statements according to their theme. The distribution of the four main changes within forestry, the statements related to the state of the woods
categories reflects which landscape elements or patterns are substantial are in a significant majority. The main topics are forest cover and its
for the respondents when speaking about landscape. The result shows spatial pattern, forest stands, and the changed species distribution,
that LC/LU of the vegetated surfaces is in first place (40%), built ele- naturalness and forest management, and the ecological, environmental,
ments and cultural features in the second (30%), followed by complex economic and recreational functions of forests.
characteristics of the landscape units (18%). The fewest answers re- Grasslands, pastures and meadows are the second most frequently
ferred on the basic natural elements (12%) Table 4. mentioned LC/LU in the area; 25% of the land cover related MIs refer to
The ranking shows that respondents conceptualise landscape mainly grasslands; however, they represent only 8% of the land cover.
through land cover/land use, especially the Germans. For the French, Respondents talked about the natural and aesthetic values of the open,
the built/cultural elements are nearly equally important showing the mosaic-like landscape in the mountains as well as the related trans-
significance of human impact in their landscape concept. It is also no- formations and land use conflicts in all landscape types.
table, that the French, who provided about half of the statements, gave Vineyards and viticulture play a main role in landscape formation
more complex answers than the Germans. This fact explains the fewer in the transition zone of the plains and mountains. “Vineyards as far as
answers, but they were more ample and less analytic. Looking at the one can see (Vignoble jusqu’á perte de vue)” says a French respondent
proportion of the present state characterisation, it is slightly above the characterising the historical wine-region of Alsace. The respondents
half of the answers. The others refer to the temporal and operational acknowledged the expanding viticulture on the German side and on the
dimension. This means that the static/descriptive view and the dy- Kaiserstuhl, the island mount in the plain, is the most emblematic place
namic/operational approach of the landscape are well-balanced both in on the German side of the study area. The vineyards of the
Germany and in France. Markgräferland, lying on the piedmonts of the Black Forest, south of
Land cover and land use of the vegetated surfaces are the most Freiburg, are similarly increasingly significant. Answers describe the
important issues (40% of al MIs) showing a general integrated ap- location and extent of the vineyards, their spatial pattern in connection
proach, as LC/LU distribution and quality – being the result of human- with the cultivation techniques and the functions of viticulture.
nature interaction - is complex on its own. The categories mentioned in Cultivation is characterised by its intensity, displayed by the scale of the
the answers and their proportion are shown in Table 5. parcels, by monoculture vs. diversified areas scattered among orchards
State characteristics of LC/LU also reflect the hemeroby of the area and grassy patches. The leading role that viticulture plays in the
through the naturalness and land use intensity. The intensive land uses economy and tourism and in the settlement development of the region
(arable land and vineyard) are less frequently mentioned and the more is also an important topic.
natural ones (grassland and forest) are more frequent. Forest has the Arable land dominates the Rhine plain. The term “corn desert” ex-
absolute majority both for state and dynamic characteristics of the press well the general opinion of many respondents. Ploughed land

Table 5
The distribution of the land cover and land use related mental images.

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Table 6
The distribution of the mental images on cultural and built landscape elements.

covers 32% of the study area, but only 12% of the MIs deal with them. shows their high sensitivity toward architectural heritage when con-
Land cover pattern, as an overall consideration is in the middle in the ceptualising landscape. It is quite evident that visual aspects and future
ranking of the LC/LU related MIs. The topics mentioned relate to the strategies play a relatively important role in these answers.
size of the parcels, the monotony vs. diversification of the different Remarkably, Germans highly appreciate the chain of the fortified wine-
cultures, the dividing green belts, tree rows and the small natural towns, as picturesque pearls within the Alsatian vineyards, but in
structures. contrast to the enthusiasm of German outsiders (which the author of
Cultural/built elements are the second most important topic (30% this paper sincerely shares), the French have serious concerns with the
of all MIs). The order of the static and the dynamic statements differs settlements. Several consider these small towns as a scene preserved for
here with the exception of the infrastructure and industry that were the wine tourism, not as liveable places for the inhabitants, who
most frequently mentioned. This has about the same rate (31%) as abandon ever more of the ancient houses and construct new ones on the
forest within land use. The highest proportion are the dynamic German periphery of the towns, which do not respect traditional architectural
statements about infrastructure, industry and settlement patterns, style.
showing that they conceptualise anthropogenic landscape character- Land use related cultural heritage is the hot topic for the Germans.
istics mainly through the transformation of the built elements. MIs re- It is highly informative as actually only two topics were mentioned: the
lated to heritage have less significance altogether; however, there is a terraces and stone walls in the vineyards of the Kaisersuhl and the
difference between the French and the Germans. The higher interest of “Schwarzwaldhaus,” a really special type of house in the Black Forest,
Germans in land-use related cultural heritage and French sensitivity where “man and animal lived under one roof.” It is a vanishing heritage of
toward architectural character and quality is a sign of a different ap- the wise, ancient construction of the traditional livestock breeding in
proach to landscape (Table 6). the mountains. As a unique cultural heritage, the medieval fortresses,
Interviewees highlighted infrastructure and industry as the most cathedrals and monasteries built from red sandstone were listed, as
important constructions affecting landscape in its present state, func- witnesses to the glory of this era. Although not mentioned many times,
tions and dynamic. The main topics is the “enormous traffic” on the they are well preserved, emblematic, and part of the overall image of
expanding road and railway network parallel to the Rhine in both the region both in Germany and in France.
countries. The extensive industrial development on the French side of Complex description of landscape types or units represent the
the Rhine after the WW I is also a hot topic. The industrial past was also most integrated approach, reflecting a substantially spatial and a syn-
brought up, mainly the vanishing traditions of the once famous textile thetic landscape concept. The main organizing principle is the parti-
industry of the Vosges. The energy gained from the Rhine in connection cular area, as an entity. Landscape elements and features are attributed
with the huge transformation of the water system and the ancient and to it and to each other, and both significance and particularity are in-
dangerous nuclear power-plant on the French side of the Rhine, as well cluded. The continuity, the overall experiential character appears: e.g.,
as the recent installation of the wind turbines were highlighted. The “The character of the Vosges today is the same as 200 years before. It seems
latter is the topic of a heavy discussion. to be more ancient, vernacular. It is wilder, less inhabited, more natural, less
Settlement pattern, urbanisation and urban sprawl are the second transformed compared with Black Forest”.
most important theme, with a main emphasis on the dynamic by the Statements in this category are only 18% of the answers but being
French respondents. They see the German side significantly more po- complex descriptions, their weight is higher. It is also worth mentioning
sitively in this respect, stating that urban development is better con- that this is the only category where the number of French answers
trolled. exceed the German ones. Table 7 shows the ranking. Overall char-
Architectural characteristics and quality are the only topic within acterisation of the entire study area is the first, producing mainly dy-
cultural and built elements, where French MIs exceed the Germans. It namic statements, followed by the present state of the mountains. After

Table 7
The distribution of the complex mental images on particular landscape units.

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Table 8
The distribution of the mental images on natural landscape elements.

the Rhine plain, Kaiserstuhl is in the fourth place, far before the pied- natural factors or human land-use impacts, also called proximate dri-
mont, underpinning its emblematic status. The description of the vers (Plieninger et al., 2016). Interviewees mentioned them even when
complex characterisation of the landscape units will follow within the talking about the present state, but mainly in case of landscape changes.
presentation of the spatial dimension. The proportion of the statements referring to drivers is equal amongst
The lowest significance is attributed to the basic natural elements French and German respondents. The influence of nature is more sig-
(12% of all MIs). The distribution between French and German re- nificant when describing the present state. 13–14% of them are ex-
sponses is the same as the overall rate (Table 8). Statements about the plained by natural factors, mainly by climatic effects e.g. “there are dry
watersystem are equally important in describing its present state, unique grassland habitats with rare plant and butterfly species on the
changes, functions and strategies. The core issue is the Rhine regulation piedmont of the Vosges due to the precipitation shadow of the eastern
and its consequences, e.g. the sinking underground water table. slopes”; or “wind turbines are installed only in the Black Forest as the wind
Relief and geology are brought up with regard to the landscape speed is not sufficient in the Vosges”. Another proximate driver is the relief
scenery, as a present state of course. The significantly different land- and geological setting e.g. “landforms result in totally different settlement
forms of the Vosges and Black Forest and the Kaiserstuhl as a unique, patterns; in the Vosges, settlements are located exclusively in the valleys,
identity-forming phenomenon are the highlights. while in the Black Forest the entire mountain is inhabited.” Human impact
The main topic concerning climate is its diversity, (from the sub- has a higher proportion, especially when giving complex descriptions of
Mediterranean, through continental to subalpine) and the difference in particular landscape units: e.g., “Kaiserstuhl is highly transformed, the fine
the precipitation and wind speed on the German and French sides. The structure has been largely lost through land allocation and forming macro-
drought due to the rain-shadow on the eastern foot of the Vosges results terraces.”
in valuable dry habitats and a good climate for quality vine. The sig- Direct human impacts have a leading role in the description of
nificantly higher precipitation and wind speed on the Black Forest and landscape transformation; 84% of all statements about changes refers to
the consequences in land use and wind energy production were also land-uses as driving forces. Changes in land cover proportion as well as
highlighted. (MI: Ge19; Fr 7). land cover patterns dominate the answers. Afforestation threatens the
grasslands and the former mosaic-like structure of the mountains; the
3.2. Temporal and related causal dimension expansion of large-scale vineyards and arable fields have replaced the
grasslands and the small arboraceous structures of the piedmonts and
This axis of the assessment shows how far respondents refer to the lowlands. Open landscapes are threatened also with abandonment of
present or include temporal dimensions into their answers. The state- grasslands due to socio-economic processes as less and less farmer en-
ments describing the present state (679) are more than double of those terprise grazing and management of hay meadows.
referring to landscape transformation (301), despite the questions Vineyards are hot topics, because of the land allocation, the growing
about changes were explicitly asked during the interviews. In both parcels, and the transformation of the micro-terraces to macro-terraces
cases, German answers are about twice as many as the French ones. The as result of the land-use intensification. The location of vineyards has
thematic proportion is also similar. LC/LU issues and built elements are also extended toward the lowlands in France. These processes also have
most frequently mentioned, followed by built and cultural elements. consequences for the land cover pattern, which is considered less fine
Complex characteristics and natural elements have a lower proportion structured today. The high proportion of the related statements shows
in both the present state and changes. (Tables 9a,b, 10 a,b) that respondents are very aware of these facts.
The changes described in the interviews are typically concrete, ra- Concerning the built-up areas and linear features the infra-
ther than complex. Although the changes related to nature are a lower structure development, mainly the growing density of road and railway
proportion, the hydrological transformation has a prominent place in networks, connected to the expanding industrial and commercial con-
the answers. The temporal dimension shows a stronger correlation with structions and urbanisation on the lowlands are dominant. The

Table 9
a,b: The distribution of the mental images about present state of the landscape (a) and the proportion of the mentioned driving forces
(b).

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Table 10
a,b: The distribution of the mental images about landscape changes (a) and the proportion of the mentioned driving forces (b).

expansion of settlements and urban sprawl affect the spatial patterns deep lakes ‘Taubergiessen’ in the Rhine foreshore were listed.
and go along with the loss of traditional character in architecture. This Degradations are mainly attached to the past or recent processes.
seems to be more uncontrolled in France according to the responses of Contrasting changes have occurred in the mountains, at the valley gates
several interviewees. However, in recent decades there is more demand and on the lowlands. Ongoing process on the plains and piedmonts are
for new residential areas in Germany as the so called “Florida effect” in the growing population density along with urban sprawl and the loss of
South-Western Germany has resulted in significant grows of new in- traditional architectural character. The infrastructural and industrial
ternal residents, mainly pensioners. constructions produce increasing traffic along with the environmental
Answers about natural elements almost exclusively highlight past pollution while the higher elevations depopulate. The shrinking pas-
changes in the water regime as a consequence of the Rhine regulation tures of the mountains and dry grasslands as unique habitats of the
and canalisation that had a major transformative impact on the low- piedmonts, and the vanishing water meadows and meadow-orchards of
lands. “Lowlands have been extremely destroyed” The former fine struc- the plains are also considered as a loss. The latter, once formed a semi-
tured landscape, rich in a variety of species and semi-natural habitats natural ring around the settlements, have fallen victim to urbanisation.
disappeared as an agrarian desert came into being. Landscape homogenisation (“clearing out of the landscape,” closing of
It is important to note that the results of changes are seen almost the forests) is seen as ecological and visual degradation. Several re-
exclusively as negative. Both abandonment and over-intensification are spondents mentioned habitat destruction or the dying out of many
detrimental for the once rich, traditional cultural landscape. We have to species due to expansion of intensive agriculture. A complex problem is
put the question accordingly: what is the correlation between the that “the gradients in the landscape have been lost.” “The finer differences in
landscape changes and the interpretation of their value? What is con- natural conditions are not taken into account. The modern technology makes
sidered as heritage or degradations, threats and land-use conflicts? As it possible not to adapt.”
Table 11 shows, judgements about values and degradations relate
strongly to the temporal dimension. Values are mentioned exclusively 3.3. Operational, functional, social and their implied causal dimension
at present, while degradation refers to both present and changes, but
mainly to the latter with a similar rate of German and French re- This dimension emerged from the answers when interviewees in-
spondents. There is no difference in reflections on values and de- cluded statements about landscape management, governance, func-
gradation. tions, land use claims and conflicts as well as about different policies
Values have a low rate because only 11% of the present char- and future strategies. These statements reflects what really happens on
acteristics are seen as values. We find them predominantly amongst this operational level, and records the underlying social, political dri-
complex descriptions, and the unique cultural features. Kaiserstuhl and vers.
Alsatian wine-towns on the piedmonts are the absolute favourites. Looking at the proportions, the cultural impacts have a leading
Medieval buildings sacral heritage, and ‘Black Forest house’ lead the role, shortly before the LC/LU issues (Table 12). Amongst cultural
lists of valued unique cultural heritage. Beyond them, traditionally drivers, the role of the history emerged. The main topics are the high
managed deciduous forests, landscape scenery of the mountains, espe- density of archaeological and medieval cultural heritage as an identity-
cially open landscapes and special hydrological features e.g., the small forming factor and an important tourist destination. Catholicism under

Table 11
The distribution of the mentioned values and threats related to the present state (a) or changes of the landscape (b).

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Table 12
The distribution of the statements on operational, functional and social dimensions (a) and the related and implied driving forces (b).

the former Habsburg rulers has it vestiges in rich sacral heritage. A severe danger in the area according to the opinion of many respondents.
recent issue concerns the European regional role of the region (‘Blue It is a serious drawback in France that inhabitants have no access to the
banana” and north-south traffic corridor) as main contributor to eco- river. On the contrary, in Germany, the Old Rhine branch and the ri-
nomic development and the growing population due to immigrants parian forests have an important recreational role and only the gravel
mainly in Germany. The communication and cooperation between the pits represent industry. However, after finishing their exploitation, they
two countries is to some extent limited by the French and German are being transformed into leisure facilities by landscape restoration.
sensitivity caused by the traumas of the Word Wars. Topics that are Functional statements on natural elements refer exclusively to the
frequently alluded to are the role of Alsace in French national politics Rhine and the changing role of the river in the region. It is no longer the
and the differences between German and French political systems heart of the area, no longer the ‘Vater Rhein’.
(federal vs. central governance). The regional institutions of landscape planning and policies, the
Policies, strategies, subsidies and economic megatrends are the management organisations of the protected area (Regional Park
main factors influencing land cover and land use changes. Biogas Vosges, National Park Black Forest). NGOs have an important role in
subsidies from the EU agrarian policy (CAP) had the consequence of both countries (e.g. “Landschaftspflegeverbände,” Schwarzwaldverein,
overwhelming maize production on the plains. It is preferred because it “Communauté de Communs,” “Observatoire du Paysage”, “La
can be managed as a part time job, as the mechanised cultivation of the Fédération des Sociétés d’Histoire et d’Archéologie d’Alsace”,
huge parcels does not need much attention. Several interviewees are “Conservatoire de sites Alsaciens”). The Associations of Tourism, e.g. in
aware that the overuse of chemicals by this intensive agriculture causes Münstertal, contributes to landscape management by providing sub-
a heavy environmental load, especially in soils and groundwater. Corn sidies from tourism taxes to the farmers for maintaining the open
monoculture is more prevalent in France, where parcels are larger, so landscape. Academics of the University of Freiburg, being residents in
less diversity exists. The transformation of the Rhine plain by in- the area have more influence through projects and communication
troducing intensive corn cultivation on the French side is not con- activities than the academics in Strasbourg.
sidered negatively from the human point of view as it is an important The future was mentioned in a strategic sense as a series of tasks
livelihood for the formerly “bitterarme” rural residents of the former and related projects appeared in the answers. One of the most im-
“fishing villages” along the river Rhine. The German side is somewhat portant topics related to concrete landscape elements has been the
different since the minimum wage was introduced later, (in 2016), thus construction of water retention reservoirs and the periodic flooding
employment of East European guest workers made it profitable to grow along the river Rhine that bring forth serious concerns in the local re-
vegetables on ploughed land. It resulted in a higher diversity in the sidents. The re-naturalisation of the streams on both side of the border
parcel structure, causing though similar chemical water pollution. is an important issue of the landscape restoration. There is a special
Respondents indicated that beyond economic factors, traditions and focus on preservation of the open landscape in the mountains and the
legal systems e.g., the different inheritance rules still have an impact on dry grassland habitats of the piedmont as well as on the restoration of
spatial patterns of the landscape. The increasing price of wood, which meadow orchards. Infrastructural and urban development signifying
expands the economic role of forestry and the inflow of cheap milk are serious threats should be wisely regulated and controlled, according to
detrimental for local producers in the mountains. Therefore, young the opinion of several respondents. The need for consensus about wind
people do not continue traditional livestock grazing; farms are aban- power plants came to front as well as the management of growing
doned, reforestation takes place and fewer, but larger and more mod- impacts of tourism. An overarching goal is that landscape history and
ernised farms remain. There are policies and drivers trying to coun- adaptive land-use should be the basis of the future. Some participatory
terbalance these processes: e.g., agri-environmental schemes, nature planning initiatives and transboundary cooperation (GERPLAN1) were
conservation policies, foundation of a nature-park in the Vosges and a also mentioned,
biosphere reserve in the southern Black Forest and tourist demand for
open mosaic-like mountain landscapes.
3.4. Spatial/geographical dimension
The ancient Alsatian wine culture, the particular microclimate in
each village, making unique quality wine, conflicts with nature pro-
Respondents were explicitly asked to choose the area they wanted to
tection today, concerning mainly the conservation of dry grasslands.
talk about. Therefore, it is also informative to learn what the most
Kaiserstuhl is an example of successful nature conservation, showing
frequently mentioned areas were. According to the physical geo-
the higher environmental awareness in Germany.
graphical landscape units, respondents gave both general and landscape
Amongst complex characteristics recreational and tourism roles of
specific answers. General answers described the entire study area and
the landscape units and mono- vs. multi-functionality were the most
important topics. The landscape along the Rhine was highlighted,
where the German and French sides have different functions. In France 1
A transboundary initiative of settlements in the Southern Upper Rhine
today, it is an industrialised zone due to the politics that had the pur- Valley for sustainable development. http://www.cc-essordurhin.fr/vie-locale/
pose of creating a strong mark of its power. The nuclear power plant is a gerplan.htm

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Germany or France. Landscape specific statements referred to the Rhine France, but the emblematic volcano, Kaiserstuhl, bears also highly ap-
belt, the Rhine plain, the piedmonts in Germany and France, preciated natural and cultural heritage. Similar to the plains, however
Kaiserstuhl, the Middle Ranges, the Black Forest or the Vosges. there is an overall intensification of viticulture on large parcels, without
General statements represented 24% of all answers, showing that small natural structures on the piedmonts. Agglomeration of the set-
respondents are aware of the common characteristics, valid for the tlement chain along the main infrastructure lines in the transition zones
entire study area and for the whole German or French part, but they of lowlands and mountains tends to form a dense urban zone.
focus mainly on landscape types. The MIs about France (457) are near Differences appearing in the answers related to the urban sprawl
those about Germany (424) so the national distribution is well ba- around the fortified medieval wine towns and vineyards expansion on
lanced. The reference areas of the respondents are not equal in the two the plains in France. Both urban development and the location of the
countries. Only 22% of the French answers refer to the German side, vineyards on the piedmonts are more controlled in Germany where
while 43% of the German responses contains statement about France. regulations require settlements to stay compact and vineyards to keep
There is no significant preference of landscape types. With 31% of the on the slopes. Traditionally, vineyards do not form a continuous zone
MIs, plains are in the forefront of their interest, followed by mountains on the German side. Northward from Freiburg, a varied land cover is
(23%) and the piedmonts (21%). The first place of the lowlands can be typical. Orchards and vegetable gardens are important in Baden-
explained by the fact that many interviewees distinguish between the Würtemberg, also called “the garden of Germany.” Concentrated viti-
Rhine belt within the dam and the Rhine plain beyond it. The more culture areas have developed southwards from Freiburg. On the
significant landscape entities are characterised by complex description. Kaiserstuhl, where viticulture has a long tradition, the replacement of
The main characteristics and changes are presented in a nutshell in the former micro-terraces by macro-terraces was the most relevant land-
following sections. scape transformation, even though many valuable dry grassland habi-
tats remained and the viticulture and nature conservation seem to be
3.4.1. Rhine plain dominated by intensive arable land and urbanisation well balanced. In France, the unique dry grasslands of the warm-dry
The common core issue on the lowlands is evidently the transfor- habitats are more threatened as respondents explained.
mation of the hydrological system on both sides of the river. “River
rectification was the most essential that transformed landscape character 3.4.3. Forest dominated Middle ranges
fully.” The former nature-friendly land management, based on a com- Differences are more marked when comparing the Black Forest with
bination of ploughed culture, grasslands and riparian forests manage- the Vosges, as described: “There are essential differences between the
ment transformed to a homogenised landscape. As it was a general forested Middle Ranges. Totally different morphology and land cover pat-
process in Europe’s lowlands, we find typical processes here too; pas- tern, other distribution of forest and open areas.” In the Vosges “there is a
tures and hay meadows lost their role, and arable land gained sig- clear zonation: large open areas on the top of the mountain; forests on the
nificance. The overwhelming intensification and introduction of large slopes without bigger settlement islands; man in the valleys where a con-
fields extensively caused the small-scale natural vegetation patches to urbation effect can be seen, starting from the plain going more and more
vanish. After the corn monoculture became dominant recently, irriga- inside the mountain.”
tion contributed to the further descent of the groundwater table. The Different relief, sharper forms, steeper slopes, deeper valleys, clear
once idyllic pastoral landscape, represented on the famous painting of ridges in the Vosges vs. rounded landforms in the Black Forest resulted
Hans Thoma (Fig. 4) was replaced by an industrialised, ‘agrarian de- in different settlement structures and land use. The Black Forest has
sert’. been entirely inhabited, including the higher elevations. The main ac-
The transformation of the hydrological system relates to industrial tivity was once mining and cattle breeding, resulting a mosaic structure
development, energy supply and urbanisation. In this historical com- of forests and grasslands. In the Vosges, only the valley were inhabited,
mercial axis of North and South Europe, the long-distance traffic plays where a significant textile industry developed based on sheep grazing.
an increasingly dominant role as the construction and enlargement of It is common in both countries that along with the decline of livestock
infrastructure lines parallel to the river Rhine on both sides make it very breeding and the textile industry, the expanding forests have replaced
visible. However, many respondents described the two opposite side of grasslands largely. Thus, the landscape has gradually closed and the
the ‘Rhine belt’ where a significantly different evolution of the riverine “Schwarzwaldhaus” as well as the cultural heritage of the textile in-
landscape has taken place. After WW I, the water rights were assigned dustry is endangered. Another common issue is the new industrialisa-
to France, where the Rhine channel was constructed, with an industrial tion and growing pressure of recreational use resulting in the expansion
zone alongside (waterpower and nuclear power plants), thus the public of built up areas at the valley entrances and in upper villages with high
access to the river is limited. In Germany, however, a zone of riparian tourism demand.
forests with gravel pits and recreational areas make up an attractive Forest stands are different and more diversified in France where
riverine landscape along the old Rhine. sylviculture remained more traditional, while in Germany the intensive
The Rhine plain is twice as large in France as in Germany. There is forest management with the large-scale coniferous plantation has
more diversity in geographical and relief setting and cultivation pat- changed the landscape scenery in large areas of the Black Forest. Many
terns, more remaining natural hydrological system and arboreous respondents described it as a really dark wood due to the extensive
structures in Germany. In France, the typical dividing features of the spruce plantations, although the southern Black Forest has kept its
huge cornfields are the long, straight water channels, accompanied by traditional open character. French forests were characterised as more
rows of poplar trees. However, there are islands of semi-natural habitats natural with diverse deciduous stands and remaining traditional man-
and the remains of two natural landscape types in Alsace. One is the agement forms in the Vosges. “This change between open land, forest and
‘Hardt’, a slightly elevated terrace with dry, open forest patches and the rocky areas I find amazing.”
‘Ried,’ an area of wet meadows.
3.4.4. The two central cities Freiburg and Colmar
3.4.2. Vineyards dominated piedmonts and island mounts The geographical setting, where the two cities developed, is dif-
Areas dominated by viticulture are highly attractive both visually ferent. Freiburg is located at the foot of the Black Forest and its re-
and functionally. Historically viticulture, in these transitional areas sidential zone expands both upwards into the valleys of the mountain
between plains and forested mountains has always been the main basis and downwards onto the plain. It is an area where no vineyards dom-
of the economic wealth and richness in cultural heritage (medieval inate the piedmont that divide the forested mount from the lowland.
fortified towns, sacral heritage, ancient cultivation patterns on terraces, The town itself forms the division zone and the encircling forests are
vine-cellars and ancient wine routes). These traditions are stronger in significant on the surrounding plains too. Colmar, on the contrary, lies

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Fig. 4. Hans Thoma, Rhein bei Säckingen (Thoma et al., 1873).

on the plain surrounded by arable land and vineyards. The added value towns of the valley gates and in the transition zone of lowlands and
that makes these cities particular is rather different. In Freiburg the mountains while the agrarian villages have been less dynamic and at-
proximity of the Black Forest with a series of tourist attractions and the tractive.
“Mosswald” with its many lakes provides a high quality of life, while in The way of urban development is seen differently as it is more
Colmar, it is the extraordinary rich cultural heritage of the down-town controlled in Germany, where settlements are better integrated into the
(the medieval buildings and cathedrals) is the basis of the greater ap- landscape and the traditions are more respected in the villages. Many
preciation. However, respondents did not forget to mention the em- respondents commented on the loss of character of the new buildings
blematic Cathedral of Freiburg. and the urban sprawl in France. The German part is more orderly and
geometric, because everything is well kept. That is considered as the
3.4.5. Entire study area and the comparison between Germany and France “German factor.”
General comparisons, of the characteristics and differences between
the two countries also occurred in the respondents' narratives. Common 4. Discussion
features relate to the physical geographical mirror situation, as de-
scribed in the book “Schwarzwald - Vogesen” (Eggers, 1964). The in- Our results encompass a wide range of topics, thus an extensive
fluence of this concise landscape geographical overview of the two comparative survey of the related literature is not realistic. Instead, we
Middle ranges is clearly visible. The climate diversity ranging from highlight a few issues here. First is a methodological concern, the com-
subalpine to sub-Mediterranean is a highly appreciated characteristic of parability of the narratives in different languages. It is a relevant issue if
the study area. This is why a significant diversity of habitats and avi- the “word association methods are used to unravel people’s cognitive
fauna is a natural endowment, however highly threatened. Remains of schemas, models, or social representations” (Haartsen et al., 2003) e.g.,
meadow orchards around villages are valued in both countries, as a in the studies of Buijs and Elands (2013) and Wartmann et al. (2015). In
little counterbalance of the changing settlement fringe and the extreme our research, we examined the mental images of landscape character,
structural clearing out of the landscape due to the land allocation and which is a more complex concept than single words. Although this
industrialisation of agriculture. “Modern technology allows farmers to not method made it possible to unfold respondent's basic, ontological
adapt to the fine ecological differences that made landscape once more landscape approach, our question was not what landscape is, but what
complex.” Some highly appreciated common cultural features are the is its character like. Therefore, a large number of statements referred to
remains of fortresses, forming a chain in both the Vosges and the Black entire landscape units that are a higher organisation level than their
Forest and the medieval churches, cathedrals and monasteries built parts. The whole cannot be characterised by the simple listing of its
from red sandstone. They are well-graced tourist destinations in the elements. In a concrete study area particularly, single words are less
Middle ranges and piedmonts in both countries. informative than contextual mental images. Having kept them as un-
Differences are more frequent. The zonation of the landscape is divided logical units, made it possible to detect the complexity of re-
clearer in France. Several respondents stated that it is an easy to read spondents’ thinking. This approach is confirmed by the argument of
landscape. The mirror situation is thus a generalisation. In Germany the Ryden (1993): “The sense of place does not gain public expression,
island mounts in the lowland, the relief and land-use diversity of the however, solely through the folkloric narratives of oral storytellers with
piedmonts make a more complex landscape structure. Other natural deep roots in the life and landscape of a particular location. That sense
factors differ too. The German side is richer in precipitation. There is a is, after all, primarily a pattern of thought rather than the stories and
‘rain shadow’ eastwards from the Vosges, thus more drought on the musings which give body to that thought—it is a way of structuring and
French side. The surface water network shows dissimilarities as well. interpreting geographically related memory and experience…”
Although the headwaters are in the Middle ranges and they run toward Second, we confront our research questions and results with the
the Rhine, the streams of the Vosges in France flow into the river Ill, priority questions for the science, policy and practice of cultural land-
flowing parallel to Rhine. The dry elevated terrace plain, the ‘Hardt’ lies scape in Europe, outlined by Hernández-Morcillo et al. (2017). Their
between them. Respondents saw the water network of Germany as more survey, based on workshops with the participation of landscape scien-
diversified and more natural. Urbanisation speeded up in the last dec- tists, resulted in eight categories of research topics. Three of them –
ades by inner German immigration to Baden-Württemberg, resulting in “Co-creation of knowledge; Landscape change, Creating, enhancing and
a general expansion of residential areas, especially the growing ag- protecting cultural values in landscape” – were explicit questions of our
glomeration around Freiburg. In France, the settlement development study. Three other priority topics – “Landscape justice; Landscape
had different drivers and hotspots. It was industry and the wine-tourism stewardship; Landscape services and human well-being” - were fre-
of Alsace that fostered urbanisation along the river Rhine and in the quently raised by our respondents. Climate change however, was

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seldom mentioned. We addressed the issue of landscape assessment tool Table 13


through the introduction of the seven dimensions (ontological, episte- Drivers of landscape changes in the study of Plieninger et al. (2016) and their
mological, temporal, causal, functional/operational, personal, spatial), significance in our case study.
as a new assessment approach to the mental images of the in-depth
interviews of our study. DRIVERS Relevance in the
Third, the interdependence of the ontological, functional and social statements of the
dimension let emerge the issue of man-landscape relationship, the in- French-German
interviews
siders' or outsiders' view. Landscape is considered merely as scenery, an
asset for the economy by ‘outsiders’, but a place of involvement, part of PROXIMATE drivers of landscape change
identity for ‘insiders.’ The difference between the two approaches is I. urban/infrastructure development
crucial for the future and for sustainability as Wylie (2007) underlined - urban development - high
- tourist development - medium
it with philosophical arguments. “Merleau-Ponty’s initial phenomen-
- construction of road airport etc. - high
ology of self, body and world already enables a new definition of - dam and reservoir construction - medium
landscape as a term and concept. Divested of assumptions regarding II. agricultural expansion/intensification
observation, distance and spectatorship, the term landscape ceases to - intensification of agriculture - high
- expansion of arable land - high
define a way of seeing, an epistemological standpoint, and instead be-
- upscaling and consolidation of plots - high
comes potentially expressive of being-in-the-world itself: landscape as a - removal of landscape elements (hedgerows, - high
milieu of engagement and involvement. Landscape as ‘lifeworld’, as a wetlands)
world to live in, not a scene to view.” Our method, using oral history IV. expansion/intensification of forestry
aimed at capturing the “cultural and individual experiences in space - afforestation of plantation - high
- intensification of wood harvest - high
and place from 'within'—through eye of participant, not an observer”,
V. extraction of non-renewable resources
as Ryden (1993) argues for its benefits. - extraction of energy carrys - not relevant
Fourth, acknowledging that beyond man-nature relationships, the - extraction of minerals - low
social interconnectedness plays an equally crucial role in landscape pro- - peat extraction - not relevant
tection, management and planning, resulting finally in beneficial or - water extraction - high
VI. land abandonment/extensification
detrimental changes. We have to take into account the communication - land abandonment - high
amongst people, institutions and various social groups. The concept of - agricultural extensification - low
social capital (Pretty and Smith, 2004; Kizos et al., 2018) particularly VII. nature/heritage conservation activities
addresses the issues of participation, trust and compliance in society as - expansion of protected areas - medium
- agro-environmental activities (planting - medium
bonding, bridging and linking capital. Our study is in line with the
hedgerows)
results of Pretty and showed that intersectoral thinking and partner- - rural development activities - medium
ships can promote sustainable landscape management, e.g. using UNDERLYING DRIVERS: policy/institutional,
landscape as a platform for harmonising development and protection economic, technological, cultural, or natural/
strategies in the Nature Park of Ballon desVosges, in Val de Than, and spatial factors
Political/institutional factors comprise formal
Münstertal etc.). On the contrary, the lack of communication and policies
knowledge transfer leads to prioritising economic interests. eg. large - agricultural and forestry policy - high
scale intensive corn monoculture, which results in high level water - nature conservation policy - medium
pollution and soil degradation, thus destroying the diversity of land- - spatial development policy - medium
- property rights - medium
scape services.
- policy climate - medium
Fifth, in relation to the social capital, we should raise the border Economic factors related to markets and
effect. Leimgruber (2005) diagnosed “the boundaries in Western Europe commercialization (e.g. of agricultural
experienced …. an ambiguous process of defunctionalisation. There commodities), economic structures,
was a strong evolution of indirect border effects (increase in trans- urbanization, and industrialization.
- structural change in agriculture and forestry - high
border commuting, shopping trips, capital flows etc.), but nationalist - real estate market - high
considerations continued to dominate in the field of direct effects (with - prices of agricultural and forestry products - medium
parallel infrastructures thanks to centripetal legislation in education, - market growth and commercialisation - medium
health services, police). The induced effects began to fade as border Technological factors refer to the appearance and
spread of new technologies
installations were gradually removed or put to new uses. Decon-
- technological modernisation of land management - medium
structing the political boundaries has not automatically led to the dis- - technological modernisation of the society - medium
appearance of disparities.” These statements are valid for our study area Cultural factors
as well. Researchers also perceived the sensitivity, which still exists - population number, distribution and age - high
caused by historic traumas of the 20th century cannot be disregarded. structure
- public attitudes, values and beliefs - medium
Finally, we discuss the drivers of landscape changes by comparing the - individual and household behaviour (Geist and - low
European survey of Plieninger et al (2016) with our results (Table 13). Lambin, 2002)
We summarise here briefly the causal statements described formerly in Natural/spatial drivers
the Result chapters with rapport of the temporal and operational di- - climate - medium
- natural disturbances - not relevant
mensions. Amongst proximate land use drivers, the hot topics are river
- soil characteristics - medium
regulation, agricultural intensification, land allocation along with ex- - topography and spatial configuration of landscape - medium
pansion of large-scale vineyards and arable lands, afforestation, ex- patches
tending urbanisation, infrastructure and energy supply systems. The
underlying socio-economic causes are the impacts of policies, subsidies,
market conditions, recreational demands and social attitudes, and the
value system of society. EU subsidies without regard the unique char- systems - have been referred to mainly in correlation with unique ha-
acter of the landscape are considered as mainly negative. Some positive bitats, suitability for specific land uses, the growing demand for urban
effects also occur: e.g., the agro-environmental schemes. Natural dri- settlement areas due to internal immigration in Germany, as well as the
vers - geological setting, relief, diversity of climate and hydrological visual attractions of landscapes.

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The comparison shows that out of Plieningers’19 proximate drivers, constitutive elements and their characteristics are described, and
10 have high and 5 have medium significance in our study. Among the reflect the holistic, synthetic or partial, analytic view.
18 underlying drivers, 3 have high and 13 have medium significance. 2.1 Landscape as an aggregation of its characteristic elements/
Only 6 drivers have low relevance or are irrelevant in our case. We functions or an entity of higher organisation level. These ap-
confirm that a study area, encompassing landscapes with various proaches have been revealed by the topics, and by the simplicity or
character, is measurably representative for the entire continent. complexity of the statements. Is it dominant to conceive the space as
It is worth noting that the “closing of the landscape” by afforestation a whole, or just the particular landscape elements? By this, it can be
to the detriment of the preferred open, pastoral landscape in the detected how specific or integrative the description of the landscape
mountains has a prominent place in the statements of our case study, units is. In the first case, landscape was described as a complex
justifying the particular attention of the many research papers on that entity where the composition and relation of the elements result in
topic e.g. (Bieling, 2013; Bradley, 2017; Darnhofer et al., 2017; the character; in the second place, the unique, salient features were
Feurdean et al., 2013; Höchtl et al., 2005; Hunziker, 1995; Kaligarič mentioned. GENERAL INTEGRATIVE THINKING IS REFLECTED BY
and Ivajnšič, 2014; Loran et al., 2017; Plit and Myga-Piątek, 2014; THE ABSOLUTE PRIORITY OF THE LAND COVER AND LAND USE
Vadell et al., 2016). The abandonment of mountain farms – as em- ISSUES IN BOTH COUNTRIES. A HIGH LEVEL OF SYNTHETIC
phasized by many respondents – is a sign and a result of socio-economic THINKING WITH LESS REGARD TO DETAILS IS SHOWN BY THE
processes, profitability, the transformation of private needs and lifestyle COMPLEX DESCRIPTIONS PROVIDED MAINLY BY FRENCH RESP-
preferences. The particular attention toward this issue is explained by ONDENTS. GERMAN ANSWERS WERE CHARACTERISED BY A
the contribution of grassland management and livestock breading to HIGH LEVEL OF ACCURACY AND DETAIL IN THEIR PRESENTAT-
several landscape services (biodiversity, food safety, cultural heritage, ION OF DIVERSE ASPECTS OF THE LANDSCAPE, THOUGH LOWER
scenic values, and tourism attractiveness). LEVEL OF INTEGRITY.
Concerning the adaptive capacity to landscape change we might 2.2 Landscape described as a quantitative, factual reality or as a
state, that professional respondents, especially nature conservationists qualitative, perceived, experienced entity, a mental construction.
are the most sensitive. They strongly complain about the loss of habitats The two ways represent the different understandings of landscape;
due to agricultural intensification, afforestation, urbanisation and in- the first focuses on its materiality and the second on cognition
frastructural development. However, all respondent consider transfor- through perception resulting in representation in the human mind.
mation as merely degradation, though as an unavoidable process in “If you say, that landscape is a mental construction, that’s the end, if you
areas of economic development. On the contrary, they are aware of the don’t find a factual dimension. Landscape ecology is still something
other extreme of the abandonment in the mountains. The findings of material.” QUANTITATIVE, FACTUAL APPROACH OF PROFESSIO-
Hunziker et al (2008), that landscape change as such is not disturbing NALS PREVAILS IN BOTH COUNTRIES. THE QUALITATIVE, PER-
— a conclusion also drawn by Brown et al (2003) and Felber-Rufer CEPTUAL APPROACH HAS A HIGHER SIGNIFICANCE IN FRANCE
(2006) has a different tone in our case. It is a difference amongst pro- AND LESS IN GERMANY.
fessionals coming from various branches. Academics are more neutral, 3 Temporal conclusions highlight the considerations of either the
while planners, policy makers and landscape managers feel responsible present state, or the historic and ongoing transformation, reflecting
for controlling and diverting processes toward sustainability. the static and dynamic view as well as making judgements on values
or degradations.
5. Conclusions and outlook 3.1 Landscape is seen as a photo, a snapshot of reality, and/or as a
film, a dynamic entity. The static view considers landscape as a
The inductive research on landscape character and its changes has mirror, a stable entity, being a frame of life, and a passive reality.
inspired concluding theories related to the formerly defined dimensions The dynamic view looks at processes, inherently related to land-
of the assessment. They consist of either a clear concept, or com- scape as a recipient of interactions. In this latter concept, landscape
plementary and contradictory approaches. Quotations from the inter- is an ever-changing, living, space-time continuum. “Landscape is a
views, added to the concepts aim at illustrating them. The personal/ contradictory concept. It is there when one arrives and it stays there when
national dimension, being overarching issue are not independent, thus one departs. Although landscape isn’t static, but it changes slowly, not
it is discussed as part of the concluding theories in each dimension. that fast, that might be perceived.” STATIC PERSPECTIVES HAVE
HIGHER SIGNIFICANCE THAN DYNAMIC ONES BOTH FOR
1 The Ontological conclusion is about the thematic and structural GERMAN AND FRENCH RESPONDENTS. THERE IS A TWOFOLD
understanding of the landscape. Concepts describe what the essence MAJORITY OF STATEMENTS ON THE PRESENT, EXCEPT THE
of landscape is and what it consists of. COMPLEX DESCRIPTIONS, WHERE STATE AND PROCESS,
1.1. Three ontological approaches were identified: a) Landscape as GERMAN AND FRENCH ANSWERS ARE EQUAL IN NUMBER.
a whole space of interactions, encompasses the entire functioning 3.2 Descriptions of present and past correlate with values and
life of man and nature that is biophysical, socio-economic and degradations. Making judgements about values and degradations, in
mental reality reflected predominantly in land cover and land use our case study relates strongly to the temporal dimension. Results of
pattern. “Landscape is life, it isn’t protection. We make a landscape changes were seen almost exclusively as negative. Either abandon-
through several activities.” b) Landscape as environment, refers to ment or over-intensification are both detrimental for the once rich,
areas outside the settlement, managed by man, forming the bio- traditional, cultural landscape. It suggests that value is a matter of
physical surrounding of the village or town. “Do you think now about conservation e.g. “wonderful open landscape of the Southern Black
landscape or about buildings?…If we return to vegetation again, we have Forest”. They came into being in the past and they are still there for
the meadow orchard”….c) Landscape as part of the nature, the us because of preservation measures. Although it is widely ac-
‘wilderness’ concept, which is an archetypal abstract idea, not co- knowledged that patrimony permanently comes into being in all
inciding with the reality of the study area.LANDSCAPE IS CONCE- historical periods, the continuous formation of heritage does not
PTUALISED BY THE MAJORITY OF FRENCH PROFESSIONALS AS A appear in the answers, rather the loss of the valuable past features
WHOLE SPACE OF INTERACTION AND BY GERMANS AS A and habitats. VALUES REFER EXCLUSIVELY TO THE PRESENT;
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT OUTSIDE THE SETTLEMENTS, INFLU- DEGRADATION REFERS BOTH TO PRESENT AND TO CHANGES.
ENCED AND MANAGED BY MAN. THE WILDERNESS APPROACH VALUES ARE STABLE FEATURES, REMAINS OF THE PAST, SIGNS
HAS A LOW SIGNIFICANCE. OF THE CONTINUITY, WHILE ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS,
2 Epistemological conclusions are about the way landscape, its LANDSCAPE DEGRADATIONS ARE CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGE

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PROCESSES. BOTH GERMANS AND FRENCH RESPONDENTS ARE NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES, POLICIES AND THE
AWARE OF THE VALUABLE KEY FEATURES AND THE MAJOR HIDDEN, BUT STILL EXISTING SENSIBILITY CAUSED BY THE
LANDSCAPE CHANGE PROCESSES AND THREATS. HISTORICAL TRAUMAS CANNOT BE DISREGARDED AND THEY
4 Operational, functional conclusions relates to the identified ARE OBSTACLES TO TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION.
landscape functions, the explicitly highlighted management and 5 Causal conclusions answer the ‘why’ question, contribute to un-
preservation tasks and strategies, as well as socio-cultural drivers. derstanding the state and the evolution of landscape character by
Here we have both harmoniously co-existing and conflicting func- providing information about the drivers of degradations, threats and
tions, tasks and drivers that have to be managed. The concept be- conflicts or preservation of the landscape values. The cause and
hind them is crucial in preservation of multifunctionality and con- effect relationships help to formulate and implement adequate
flict management as well as in transboundary cooperation. management strategies.
4.1 Landscape is a passive resource, undergoing human impact, 5.1The role and influence of the driving forces (direct and indirect
thus a matter of conservation or landscape is a space of human drivers, natural factors). Despite the lack of explicit ques-
sustainability.The question is whether the economy and develop- tions on driving forces in the interviews, 59% of German and 58% of
ment are separated from conservation or are they considered as two French respondents formulated their statements by explaining
sides of the same medal, two functions that should be harmonised in cause-effect relationships. The proportion of the causal statement is
the same landscape. In the first case, statements refer to increasing also informative. Land use as a direct human driver has the highest
pollution, hydrological degradations, habitat and biodiversity loss. rate (Ger 39%, Fr. 34% of all MIs), while underlying natural factors
These environmental and landscape degradations have to be (Ger. 10%, Fr. 9%) and indirect (socio-economic) human drivers
stopped by conservation policies and measures. Progress and pre- (Ger. 10%, Fr. 14%) have lower explanatory power, are still sig-
servation are in opposition and preservation is less powerful. Even nificant. German statement are well balanced between the two.
though conservation is initiated by a growing environmental French respondents put a bit more emphasis on the policies and
awareness, and developing institutional background, the economy social attitudes. The static and non-contextual – ‘it is like this’ –
still has far more priority versus ecology in planning and policy- descriptions are a minority in both Germany and France, which
making. The concept of sustainability says that conservation is not reflect a shared logical, strategic thinking and the awareness of the
viable separate from development. Landscape is not solely scenery, dynamic interrelations amongst constitutive landscape elements and
or a nature reserve. THE CONSERVATION APPROACH, ENVIRON- human impacts.
MENTAL AWARENESS AND GREEN POLICY ARE STRONGER IN 5.2 Identifying and making judgements on the different driving
GERMANY. THE CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABILITY OCCURS MAINLY forces shows the positive and negative impact of the three types of
IN FRANCE, RARELY AS A FACT, BUT AS A FUTURE TASK THAT identified drivers. Landscape changes, driven predominantly by
HAS TO BE BASED ON LAND USE TRADITIONS. economic considerations is highly influenced by EU as well as na-
4.2 Landscape is merchandise, part of the business, and/or land- tional policies and subsidies. THE IMPACT OF PROXIMATE LAND-
scape is a characteristic territorial unit, contributing to strengthen USE DRIVERS AND UNDERLYING SOCIO-POLITICAL INFLUENCES
identity. The two approaches reflect peoples’ different attitudes ARE CONSIDERED MAINLY NEGATIVE, BUT THE INFLUENCE OF
toward landscape. If landscape is scenery, and historic villages and NATURAL FACTORS IS UNAMBIGUOUSLY POSITIVE.
special local products are considered merely as profitable com- 6 Spatial conclusions includes aspects of the narratives, related to
modities that have to be preserved for tourists who pay for it, the area units that respondents talked about.
landscapes becomes foreign objects, alienated from locals. “The 6.1 Present characteristics and changes relates to geographical
Black Forest is scenery” or “It’s about making value of the landscape, landscape types or to national specificities. This represents the role
namely that one could visit and eat it.” Man is no longer part of the of different spatial units (geographical or national) in the formation
landscape. He does not inherently belong to it and landscape and of the unique character of a landscape. In the first case, the physical
heritage are degraded to a business goal. In the other concept, geographical conditions and land cover have a primary influence. In
landscape is the result of the historical coexistence of man and the second, the national specificities, and the socio-economic drivers
nature where they mutually influence and form each other. play a crucial role. BOTH CHARACTERISTICS AND CHANGE PRO-
Traditions serve as roots for the present. Their survival keeps heri- CESSES ARE OWERWHELMINGLY RELATED TO THE PARTICULAR
tage not as an external driver, but as an intrinsic motivation. People LANDSCAPE TYPES. GENERAL STATEMENTS ABOUT THE COUN-
are aware of the unique characteristics and consider them as con- TRIES PLAY A SUBORDINATE ROLE.
stitutive elements of their identity. “Alsace is a landscape blessed by 6.2 Are common characteristics or differences prevailing in de-
God. People are aware of the heritage. There are122 associations of scriptions of the landscape types? This angle of landscape-type
history dealing with patrimony.” BOTH FRENCH AND GERMAN specific common characteristics and processes occurs predominantly
RESPONDENTS CLAIM THAT WITH THE UTILITARIAN APPROACH on the lowlands and piedmont. The most frequently mentioned
LANDSCAPE BECOMES A COMMERCIALISED PRODUCT. THIS ongoing processes are the homogenisation and intensification of
CONCERNS PIEDMONTS AND THE MOUNTAINS OF ALSACE arable fields and vineyards, forest expansion and grassland regres-
WHERE THE WINE ROUTE WITH THE FORESTS AND CASTLES OF sion as well as urbanisation, agglomeration, and industrialisation
THE VOSGES BEHIND THEM SERVE AS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. along with the rapidly growing density of road and railway net-
IN GERMANY, IT IS VALID FOR KAISERSTUHL AND THE BLACK works. COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LANDSCAPE TYPES
FOREST. LANDSCAPE AS PART OF IDENTITY HAS HIGH SIGNIFI- ON BOTH SIDE OF THE BORDER PREVAIL; HOWEVER, BOTH
CANCE FOR INTERVIEWED EXPERTS. GERMAN AND FRENCH RESPONDENTS ARE AWARE OF THE
4.3Landscape is a task, a responsibility of locals and/or a trans- BIOPHYSICAL ALTERATION AND THE NATIONAL SPECIFICITIES
boundary common issue. The questions coming from this aspect are: OF THE LAND USES.
who should take care of the landscape, what does it mean, who are 6.3 Geographical differences of values and degradations. This re-
the actors, how national policies influence landscape changes? They flects whether positive and negative judgement on landscape state
relate to communication, cooperation, harmonisation of develop- or processes relate to particular landscape types or to countries, and
ment and protection strategies. LOCAL INHABITANTS’ INVOLVE- determine whether narratives are value oriented or problem centred
MENT, PARTICIPATORY PLANNING AND COMMUNICATION in a spatial context. ALL LANDSCAPE TYPES HAVE THEIR DOMI-
AMONGST ACTORS HAVE LONGER TRADITIONS IN FRANCE, BUT NANT VALUES AND DEGRADATIONS. THE RHINE PLAIN HAS
A GROWING SIGNIFICANCE IN GERMANY. THE DIFFERENT CHANGED THE MOST AND SUFFERED THE MOST DEGRADATION

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London.
The research was financed by DAAD (Deutscher Academisches
Haartsen, T., Groote, P., Huigen, P.P.P., 2003. Measuring age differentials in re-
Austauschdienst) East-Partnership Program, in the framework of the presentations of rurality in the Netherlands. J. Rural Stud. 19, 245–252. https://doi.
bilateral agreement between the Albert Ludwig University Freiburg and org/10.1016/S0743-0167(02)00045-1.
the University of Sopron (Hungary). I am grateful first of all to Prof. Hernández-Morcillo, M., Bieling, C., Bürgi, M., Lieskovský, J., Palang, H., Printsmann, A.,
Schulp, C.J.E., Verburg, P.H., Plieninger, T., 2017. Priority questions for the science,
Werner Konold, the former holder of the Chair for Landscape policy and practice of cultural landscapes in Europe. Landsc. Ecol. 32, 2083–2096.
Management at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources for Herrbach-Schmidt, B., 2012. Räume und Grenzen am Oberrhein, Oberrheinische Studien.
his continuous support and advice during the research. I wish to express [Spaces and Borders on the Upper Rhine, Upper Rhine Studies] Thorbecke.
Ostfildern. pp. 263.
my special thanks to my colleague, Pál Balázs, for his great support in Höchtl, F., Lehringer, S., Konold, W., 2005. Wilderness": what it means when it becomes
collecting and organising literature, maps, statistics and photographs. I reality - a case study from the southwestern Alps. Landsc. Urban Plan. 70, 85–95.
thank Prof. Alexandra Maria-Klein, Prof Dirk Jaeger and all colleagues https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.006.
Homburger, W., 2012. Grenzüberschreitungen: der alemannische Raum - Einheit trotz der
of the faculty for their help, and las but not least all interviewees in Grenzen? [Crossing borders: area of the Alemans - unity despite the borders?],
Germany and France for their valuable contributions. Veröffentlichung des Alemannischen Instituts. Thorbecke, Ostfildern. 275 pp.. .
Hook, S., 2006. Landschaftsveränderungen im südlichen Oberrheingebiet und
Schwarzwald: Wahrnehmung kulturtechnischer Maßnahmen seit Beginn des 19.
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London; New York, pp. 578. Éva Konkoly-Gyuró Prof. graduated in landscape architecture in Budapest, Hungary.
Pinto-Correia, T., Azeda, C., 2017. Public policies creating tensions in Montado man- After a few year of practise in open space planning in Hungary, Vienna and Switzerland,
agement models: insights from farmers’ representation. Land Use Policy 64, 76–82. she completed her PhD in landscape history in the year 1990. Since 1995, she has been a
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.02.029. lecturer on environmental and landscape history, policy and planning at the University of
Plieninger, T., Draux, H., Fagerholm, N., Bieling, C., Bürgi, M., Kizos, T., Kuemmerle, T., Sopron at the Institute of Environmental Sciences. Since 2010, she has led the Chair of
Primdahl, J., Verburg, P.H., 2016. The driving forces of landscape change in Europe: Landscape Science within the Institute of Forest Resource Management and Rural
a systematic review of the evidence. Land Use Policy 57, 204–214. https://doi.org/ Development. She aims at connecting a landscape approach with the concept of sus-
10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.04.040. tainability in education as well as in research and planning activities. Her book on
Plit, J., Myga-Piątek, U., 2014. The degree of landscape openness as a manifestation of Environmental Planning was published in two edition in 2003 and in 2013. She has also
cultural metamorphose. QuaGeo 33, 145–154. https://doi.org/10.2478/quageo- published 5 book chapters, 96 papers, 8 readers and several textbooks and project reports.
2014-0036. Her habilitation took place in 2005 and was nominated for a professorship in 2010 at the
Pretty, J., Smith, D., 2004. Social capital in biodiversity conservation and management. University of Sopron. She participated in several national and European landscape re-
Conserv. Biol. 18, 631–638. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00126.x. search projects, among others in ELCAI, SENSOR, BIOSERV and TRANSECONET. She was
Raymond, R., Luginbühl, Y., Seguin, J.-F., Cedelle, Q., Grare, H., 2015. Les Atlas de the initiator and the Hungarian coordinator of the project “200 Years of Land Use and
paysages. Méthode pour l’identification, la caractérisation et la qualification des Land Cover Changes and their Driving Forces in the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe”.
paysages. [Landscape atlases - a method for identifying, characterising and describing She is Scientific Advisor of the National Committee for the Implementation of the
landscapes] Ministère de l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie. European Landscape Convention.
Ritter, J., 1963. Landschaft. Zur Funktion des Ästhetischen in der modernen Gesellschaft.

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