Cultural landscapes in Central Europe are of great value as evidence of our natural and cultural heritage and part of our common history. They are an important precondition for human well-being, quality of life and regional identity for residents and visitors alike. The economic and tourism potential of landscapes forms a source of sustainable regional development.

However, landscapes are endangered due to a lack of awareness, insensitive development and rapid change. In addition, many rural areas suffer from population decline due to negative demographic trends and the outward migration of young people. Further problems include the sectoral treatment of landscape issues and the poor coordination of different policy areas (especially agriculture, nature conservation, and economy).

 Since the year 2000, the European Landscape Convention has been trying to develop and coordinate effective measures for the protection of landscapes. However, its effectiveness in Central Europe has been rather limited to date. This applies similarly to the Territorial Agenda of the European Union adopted in 2006.

Regional approaches combining economic development and landscape protection, e.g. by involving local actors and regional stakeholders from different sectors are still quite rare in Central Europe. VITAL LANDSCAPES is born out of a desire to overcome these deficits.

© Vital Landscapes, Große Diesdorfer Str. 56/57, D-39110 Magdeburg