Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Landscape beauty: A wicked problem in sustainable ecosystem management?

  • Author(s): Dronova, Iryna
  • et al.

Recent discourses on sustainable ecosystem management have increasingly emphasized the importance of bundling relationships and interactions among multiple ecosystem services supported by similar natural and anthropogenic mechanisms within the total environment. Yet, the aesthetic benefits of ecosystems, playing critical role in management of both wild and anthropogenic landscapes, have been under-represented in these discussions. This disregard contributes to the disconnection between environmental science and practice and limits our understanding of ecological and societal implications of management decisions that either generate aesthetic benefits or impact them while targeting other ecosystem services. This discussion reviews several "wicked problems" that arise due to such limited understanding, focusing on three recognized challenges in present-day ecosystem management: replacement of natural ecosystem functions, spatial decoupling of service beneficiaries from its environmental consequences and increasing inequalities in access to services. Strategies towards solutions to such wicked challenges are also discussed, capitalizing on the potential of innovative landscape design, cross-disciplinary research and collaboration, and emerging economic and policy instruments.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View