An increasing number of local to global actors and stakeholders want more of the goods, services and values that landscapes can provide to develop human welfare and quality of life. In response to this policies about sustainable development as a process and sustainability as a goal have been developed. A wide range of actors and stakeholders from sectors at different levels use different policy instruments and form different systems of governance. Management of natural resources takes place. A range of organisations monitor outcomes and inform policy-makers.
However, all these activities are not static. Goal setting and thus policy contents continue to evolve. New modes of governance and policy implementation instruments are developed by planners, and their use is debated. Approaches to management of actual landscapes are gradually adapted to new needs and conditions, or not. Finally, new ways of assessment of outcomes of the implementation process are refined by combining monitoring with policy targets, or fail.

These fuzzy stages of policy, governance, management and assessment of what happens in actual landscapes as integreated social and ecological systems is often called the policy cycle, which in reality is often non-linear and chaotic. Nevertheless, the policy cycle can be used as an image (look to the right!) illustrating the skills actors and stakeholders involved with natural resources issues need to develop continuously.

EUROSCAPES Communication