Think Landscape: International course on how to think and act landscape

Landscape in Bhutan. Photo by Sonam Tashi.

Landscapes worldwide are increasingly shaped through global trade, market development, resource exploitation and climate change. This leads to a situation in which agriculture, forestry, biodiversity conservation, mining, housing and other land uses are increasingly competing for space. This conflict hampers the achievement of the sustainable development goals. The only way to strike a balance is taking an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary landscape perspective, which considers the multi-functionality of landscapes, while understanding their complementarity and potential options for integration. The landscape level is increasingly recognized as the appropriate level to negotiate land use options with multiple stakeholders and to mediate conflicts and promote collaboration between them. 



Course content

During this course, we will think landscape from a biophysical perspective, taking into account ecological and hydrographical processes defining the biophysical potential of a landscape. But we will also look at landscapes from an economic and a governance perspective. Searching the best options for integrating different land uses require facilitated mediation and negotiation, and participatory and transparent decision making processes. It also demands for collaboration between public and private landscape actors, through the development of novel public-private partnership arrangements at the landscape level. Developing  such partnership arrangements is not easy, as landscape boundaries do not always tally with administrative boundaries, and inter-sectoral coordination and policy integration may require institutional change. Nevertheless, landscape actors are experimenting with landscape level partnership arrangements across the globe. Multiple are the examples of landscape networks, watershed committees, restoration partnerships and other types of multi-stakeholder initiatives, with varying levels of success.

Participation in the Global Landscape Forum 2017 in Bonn

The course will be held at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn. The course takes place as a combination with the Global Landscapes Forum (December 19-20 in Bonn, see So course participants will join the Forum which will have its seat in Bonn for the upcoming five years.

Using a variety of training methods

The unique partnership between Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, ZEF, and The Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) program led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Global Landscape Forum is an excellent opportunity to combine practical experience and academic knowledge with a policy oriented international network. The Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation has a vast experience in participatory and hands-on professional training.  ZEF and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have a global reputation on inter- and transdisciplinary research. The course builds on many  years of collaboration with CIFOR, ICRAF, hence quality knowledge and practical applicability are assured.

After the course participants will be able to:

  • critically examine landscape dynamics at various levels and scales;
  • understand and assess the implications of up-scaling participation to working with diverse stakeholder groups at landscape level;
  • identify, develop and support new governance arrangements at landscape level, and assess their institutional capacity;
  • assess your own role as process manager or facilitator, and further develop your competencies as a facilitator of landscape governance processes on the ground
  • present yourself as member of an international network of landscape leaders, with state-of-the-art landscape knowledge, and multiple contacts across the globe.  

In collaboration with:

Center for Development Research (ZEF), Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Water Land and Ecosystems Program lead by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).


Find a press release in German released by the City of Bonn here and below.


Lisa Biber-Freudenberger

Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger