Cultural landscapes – Traditions and innovation for sustainable land use by promoting multiple ecosystem and landscape services

Funded by Bodnarescu Foundation (German Stifterverband) 2022 – 2026


Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Martin Sauerwein (University Hildesheim), Prof. Dr. Stefan Zerbe (University Bozen-Bolzano and University Hildesheim)

Co-supervisors: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Gianmaria Bonari (University Bozen-Bolzano), Priv.-Doz. Dr. Sabine Panzer-Krause (University Hildesheim)

Postdoc and coordinator: Dr. Ana Maria Prieto-Ramírez (University Hildesheim)


Sachin Bhattarai: Soil ecosystem services in cultural landscapes

Siba Reiad Ghadban: Traditional land use and land-use change revealed by large ecological datasets: case studies in Syria and Romania

Thuy Hang Le: Traditional agroforestry systems: ecological and cultural characteristics, ecosystem services, restoration, and sustainable management

Sandeep Joshi: Integration of landscape and ecosystem services into sustainable tourism


Activities of the Junior Research Group

Field trip to Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoja, Brasov): 16. – 23. Oct. 2022



Summer school “Restoration and conservation of cultural landscapes: Contrasting scenarios from coastal and hinterland Mediterranean areas” in Grosseto (Tuscany): 01. – 10. Sept. 2022


Kick off meeting (Hildesheim): 23. May 2022


The Junior Research Group investigates the already acknowledge importance of traditional cultural landscapes for conservation and sustainable development (Zerbe 2022), addressing different dimension of such landscapes, by applying two main conceptual frameworks: ecosystem services (Haines-Young & Potschin, 2018). and landscape services (Termorshuizen & Opdam in 2009). Our aim is to build on the multifunctional perspective of landscapes and incorporate both, natural and cultural aspects (see also, Hermann et al. 2011, Vallés-Planells et al. 2014), by answering four main questions:

1) What ecosystem and landscape services can be provided by traditional as well as multifunctional cultural landscapes?

2) Which parameters (e.g., plants, vegetation, soil characteristics) can be used as qualitative and quantitative indicators of these services, and can be applied in land-use practice and environmental policy?

3) How can traditional, low-input land-use be successfully integrated into future land-use development and be economically competitive if taking biodiversity and the multiple ecosystem and landscape services into account?

4) How can traditional and multifunctional landscapes support and enhance sustainable tourism?

Our main research region is Romania, and comparisons are perfomed with Germany and Italy.