Cultural landscape

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cultural landscape in the Romanian Maramures
Cultivated landscape in the Philippines: Banaue rice terraces

By the term cultural landscape permanently imprinted by humans is usually Landscape referred. Together with the opposing term “ natural landscape ”, a complementary pair of terms ( dichotomy ) is created. Depending on the definition, z. B. urban landscape , industrial or economic landscape and the rural area are partly counted as cultural landscapes, but partly not.

Important factors for the creation and development of the cultural landscape are the nature (site conditions) of the natural area with its fauna and flora as well as the interactions that result from the anthropogenic change in the natural area.

In folklore and in so-called historical cultural research , a branch of historical regional studies , the term 'cultural landscapes' does not indicate material landscapes, but rather cultural areas .


Schematic representation of the three most common definitions of "cultural landscape"

In the scientific literature of the geosciences and biosciences , as well as in publications from regional planning and nature conservation , the term “cultural landscape” is used in a variety of ways and in some cases significantly different from one another. The main reason for this inconsistency lies in the assessment of hemerobia (measure of the overall influence of humans on natural ecosystems ) : "Who shapes the landscape more - humans or nature?" Is the "question of faith".

Three basic definitions can be formulated:

The quantitative approach

Lapland's mountains: “reindeer pasture cultural landscape” or wilderness? The quantitative interpretation is sometimes used polemically in debates .
"Cultural landscape corresponds absolutely to the entire environment, which is influenced by humans in some way."

According to this definition, the entire land surface of the earth would have to be regarded as a cultural landscape today, since at least anthropogenic emissions can be detected everywhere. Accordingly, a distinction to the natural landscape would be obsolete.

This broad interpretation has most of the supporters among landscape planners . As an example of anthropogenic changes from wilderness to cultural landscape, the Amazon region and the terra preta found there , a soil that has been anthropogenically changed over centuries and occurs on large areas along the course of the rivers , is often cited. The broad interpretation is often criticized and leads to debates in terms of “wilderness or cultural landscape?”. For example, the question arises of how the processes of global climate change are to be assessed in this context. Cultural landscapes appear in more or less large proportions as not intended procedural effects of human activities.

The value-neutral approach

“A cultural landscape is a space whose shape was and is clearly shaped by human land use . Cultivated landscapes are not only ecologically particularly valuable or "beautiful" landscapes - but places with which people maintain an intimate relationship. "

In this sense, the uninhabitable anecumene of the earth (inland ice, glacier, deserts without vegetation), but also the parts of the subecumene that are not permanently settled are included in the natural landscapes. These would be natural areas such as the primary forests of the humid tropics or the steppes and tundras of Asia, which traditionally are only used temporarily and extensively. Even through overexploitation destroyed ecosystems in the wilderness regions is expected by this definition, not to cultural landscapes. The entire ecumenical movement - from rural areas to settlement or urban landscapes to industrial and economic landscapes - is included here as cultural landscapes. This also includes all "overgrown" areas within the ecumenical movement that were historically shaped by man. Remnants of hat forests or very old protected areas are also part of this, as they are island-like relics in the populated area and are not beyond "clear influences". In this context, frequent visitors who leave their mark and disrupt the ecosystem, and the no longer existing European megafauna (e.g. bison, aurochs, elk, brown bear), whose landscape-shaping role remains vacant, are mentioned in this context . Depending on how you look at it, around 50 to 70% of the land surface can be assigned to these anthropogenic landscapes at the beginning of the 21st century.

This notion is commonly used by geographers and landscape ecologists . It found its way into the international scientific debate , not least through the geographic school Carl Ortwin Sauer (Berkeley School) on American geography.

  • Example from the dictionary of general geography:
“The cultural landscape arises from the permanent influence, in particular also the economic and settlement-like use of the original natural landscape by human groups and societies in the context of the exercise of their basic functions. Its regionally differentiated form is not determined by nature, but is influenced by it, and the more so, the lower the technological development of the group shaping the cultural landscape. The cultural landscape gets its regional characteristics in particular through the residential function (type and distribution of human settlements), the type of economic activity (agricultural land use, raw material extraction, industry and commerce) and the development of the transport network. "
  • The geographer Martin Schwind adds from a cultural-geographic point of view that every cultural landscape must be seen as an expression of the human mindset:
“Every investigation of a real landscape structure will be able to reveal an unreal background beyond its objective significance: the spirit that carries those things. This spirit has always been different and has always asked different questions about the traditional landscape. "

The term anthropogenic landscape is sometimes used synonymously for this definition. This also forms the basis for the concept of anthropogenic biomes according to Ellis and Ramankutty , for example .

The qualitative approach

Heathland areas in Central Europe are undoubtedly cultural landscapes by any definition.
Sababurg primeval forest : Hutewald cultural landscape until the middle of the 19th century, unused since: Today is the destination of “ primeval forest” visitors, tomorrow a natural landscape again?
“A cultural landscape is a space that was shaped by pre-modern and early modern agricultural use and that still has corresponding plant formations and structures today . Such cultural landscapes are rich in species and therefore worth preserving from a nature conservation point of view. "

This close consideration is based on subjective notions of “desirable landscapes” and plays an important role in nature conservation in particular . To distinguish it from other definitions, the term historical cultural landscapes or cultural landscapes related to certain areas is sometimes used . Around 15 percent of the world's land area can be regarded as “cultural landscapes close to settlement” (Residential irrigated and residential rainfed mosaic cropland according to Alder C. Ellis and Navin Ramankutty).

For example, the Central European cultural landscape is understood to mean an area characterized by agricultural use in which the use has not exceeded a certain level of intensity. In this way, very species- rich biotopes (for example wet meadows, heaths, orchards) emerged up to the first half of the 20th century , which then largely disappeared again in the course of the further intensification of agriculture. Such historical cultural landscapes of Europe are more species-rich (→ see: Biodiversity ) than a naturally formed forest community . Due to their peculiarities, different cultural landscapes can be distinguished from one another.

The qualitative approach is also expressed in different "varieties". Two examples:

  • Hans Hermann Wöbse:
"Cultural landscapes are man-made landscapes, whose economic, ecological, aesthetic and cultural services and conditions are in a balanced relationship to one another, which guarantee continuous development dynamics and are suitable in the long term to serve people as a home."
  • Gottfried Briemle:
"An agricultural landscape that is used intensively by humans, but is characterized by small-scale farming practices , the budget of which is ecologically relatively stable due to a large number of landscape elements and preserves natural spatial differences in its physiognomy ."

The word culture (in the agricultural sense) is understood here not only as reclamation and maintenance of the soil , but rather as an expression of human activity in rural areas. The same standards apply to the landscaping as to the cultural buildings and intellectual and cultural ideas and traditions . As a result, not only the plant cover is relevant, but also every visible sign of the farmer's attachment to the landscape . In terms of the type, extent and intensity of cultivation, he made use of the largely self-stabilizing natural balance . Such man-made landscape elements are z. B. Hedge fringes and woody islands next to fields to protect against wind and dehydration. Individual trees such as high fruit trunks or oaks as shade trees on pastures. But also field edges and dry stone walls to reduce erosion damage and to facilitate cultivation. Stone bars were created when stony meadows or fields were reclaimed. These landscape elements, which were formerly useful in the sense of peasant agriculture, nowadays often interfere with the management of large areas. You experience cultural landscape protection z. B. through the designation as cultural monuments .


As early as 1946, the Swiss geographer Hans Carol tried to combine the different terms in a scheme. Taking into account the current situation, the following categorization of cultural landscapes can be carried out:

"Processual cultural landscapes" (the entire world)
Anthropogenic landscapes (landscapes shaped by humans)
Near-natural landscapes (little influenced wilderness or process protection )
(" Last of the wild ", wilderness development areas, etc.)
Cultural landscapes
  1. Historical cultural landscapes
( Heath , Geest , wood pasture , secondary forest , orchard , damp meadow u. A.)
  1. Economic landscapes
  1. Agricultural landscapes
( Vineyard , grassland , arable land , fallow land , etc.)
  1. Commercial forests
( Age group forest , Plenterwald , Femelwald , Hochwald , Schlagflur, etc.)
  1. Industrial landscapes
( Industrial area , commercial area , post-mining landscape , industrial wasteland , etc.)
  1. Settlement landscapes
( Rural area , village, etc.)
  1. Urban landscapes
( Suburban area , agglomeration , urban landscape , periphery, etc.)

Cultural landscapes in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The World Heritage Committee provides the 1992 specific sites World Heritage Site with the addition of "cultural landscape". It also writes in its implementing provisions:

“Cultural landscapes are cultural goods and represent the 'common works of nature and man' referred to in Article 1 of the Convention . They are exemplary of the development of human society and settlement over time under the influence of the physical limitations and / or possibilities that their natural environment as well as the successive social, economic and cultural forces acting from outside and inside. "

The following cultural landscapes in German-speaking countries have so far been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites , as they are particularly worth preserving due to their "exceptional universal value":


Sanssouci Park in Potsdam



  • 2007 - Vineyard terraces in Lavaux

The inclusion in the UNESCO list includes a special obligation to preserve these cultural landscapes.

Historical cultural landscape elements

The typical regional character of cultural landscapes can be described in more detail on the basis of historical cultural landscape elements. A distinction is made between structural elements (e.g. monuments, chapels and crosses) and use-related elements (e.g. sunken paths, field margins, orchards, avenues, hedges, vineyards and historical corridors). Many historical elements of the cultural landscape are evidence of earlier economic activity. They are referred to as historical cultural landscape elements if they would not arise again under the current economic and social conditions. 

The scientific study of cultural landscapes

The cultural landscape as a system of interaction between human activity and the natural environment is, in a sense that goes beyond the UNESCO definition, the subject of the Master of Cultural Landscapes (MaCLands) course, which is a European Master jointly organized by the Universities of Naples, St.-Étienne and Stuttgart is offered.


  • Andreas Bauerochse, Henning Haßmann , U. Ickerodt (eds.): Cultural landscape - administrative - digital - tourist. Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-503-09794-4 .
  • BMVBS / BBR (ed.): Regional cultural landscape design. New development approaches and options for action for spatial planning . BBR online publication 18/2007, Bonn 2007, ISSN  1863-8732 .
  • K. Buchwald, W. Engelhard: Handbook for planning, design and protection of the environment . 4 volumes. BLV, Munich a. a. 1980, ISBN 3-405-12033-0 .
  • K. Buchwald, W. Engelhard: Landscape maintenance and nature protection in practice . BLV, Munich a. a. 1984, ISBN 3-405-11200-1 .
  • P. Burggraaff, K.-D. Kleefeld: Historical cultural landscape and elements of cultural landscape . Applied Landscape Ecology 20, Bonn-Bad Godesberg 1998, ISBN 3-89624-318-7 .
  • P. Burggraaff (Red.): Cultivated landscape maintenance. Succession versus preservation . NUA Seminar Report 3, 1999, ISSN  1436-0284 .
  • V. Denzer u. a. (Ed.): Cultural landscape. Perception - inventory - regional examples . Find reports from Hessen , Supplement 4, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-7749-3334-0 .
  • D. Prince u. a. (Ed.): Cultural landscape as a space for action. Institutions and governance in dealing with the regional common good cultural landscape , Dortmund 2008, ISBN 978-3-939486-06-0 .
  • Wolfgang Haber: Cultural landscape between image and reality . Research and meeting reports of the Academy for Spatial Research and Regional Planning, Vol. 215, 2001: pp. 6–29.
  • U. Harteisen u. a. (Ed.): Cultural landscape research and environmental planning . Conference documentation, GCA-Verlag, Herdecke 2000, ISBN 3-89863-043-9 .
  • Michael Jones: The concept of cultural landscape: discourse and narratives. In: H. Palang, G. Fry (Eds.): Landscape interfaces. Cultural heritage in changing landscapes . Kluwer, Dordrecht 2003: pp. 21–51.
  • Hansjörg Küster : History of the landscape in Central Europe. From the ice age to the present . 4th, completely revised and actual Edition, Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60849-0 .
  • Landschaftsverband Rheinland u. a. (Ed.): Digital cultural landscape - research and application . Conference documentation, contributions to regional development 58, self-published, Cologne 2005.
  • Regional Association of Rhineland and Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (Hrsg.): Lebendiges Erbe. Cultural landscapes in North Rhine-Westphalia . Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2127-4 .
  • S. Lütgert (Ed.): Future of the past? Sustainable valorization of cultural landscape potential in marginalized areas . Conference volume, self-published, Schöningen 2004, ISBN 3-00-010977-3 .
  • U. Matthiesen et al. a. (Ed.): Cultural landscapes as a challenge for spatial planning. Understandings - experiences - perspectives . Academy for Spatial Research and Regional Planning, Hanover 2006, ISBN 3-88838-057-X .
  • Tobias Reeh, Gerhard Ströhlein, Axel Bader (eds.): Understanding the cultural landscape. ZELTForum - Göttingen writings on landscape interpretation and tourism - Vol. 5, Göttinger Universitätsverlag: Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-941875-33-3 , online version (PDF; 3.1 MB).
  • C. Troll: Landscape Ecology (Geoecology) and Biogeocoenology. A terminological study . In: Revue Roumaine de Geologie Geophysique et Geographie, Série de Géographie, 14 (1971), pp. 9-18.
  • Vera Vicenzotti: The 'Zwischenstadt' discourse. An analysis between wilderness, cultural landscape and city . transcript, Bielefeld.
  • B. von Dziembowski, U. Weilacher, J. Werren (eds.): NEULAND. Landscape between reality and imagination. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009, ISBN 978-3-0346-0085-9 .
  • C. Wiegand: K.-D. Kleefeld (Red.), Cultural Landscapes in Europe - Regional and International Concepts for Inventory Assessment and Management . Hanover 2001, ISSN  0175-5951 .
  • HH Wöbse: Historical cultural landscapes as objects of nature protection . In: I. Kowarik, E. Schmidt, B. Sigel (eds.): Nature protection and monument preservation. Paths to a dialogue in the garden . vdf, Zurich 1998: pp. 157–168.
  • Landschaftsverband Rheinland / Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (Hrsg.): Lebendiges Erbe. Cultural landscapes in North Rhine-Westphalia , Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2127-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: cultural landscape  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Cultural landscape  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Search term “cultural landscape” in the geolexicon , Arisleide Stolzenberger-Ramirez, Universidad Nacional de Jujuy - Facultad de Ciencias Agrias.
  2. ^ A b Ludwig Fischer: cultural landscape - natural theoretic and cultural sociological remarks on a concept . In: Food for thought . Landscape cult - cultural landscape. Edited by the Nature and Environment Foundation Rhineland-Palatinate. Issue 6, November 2007, pp. 16-27.
  3. Ludwig Trepl: Conservatism discovers the wilderness. Fountain of youth, asphalt jungle and concrete desert. Landscape and Ecology on the website of Spektrum der Wissenschaft, article from August 20, 2012.
  4. ^ Gerhard Curdes : Cultural landscape as a 'soft location factor'. Regional development through landscaping. In: Information on Spatial Development, Issue 5/6, 1999.
  5. ^ H. Job and G. Stiens: Preservation and development of grown cultural landscapes as a mandate of spatial planning. Introduction. In: Information on Spatial Development, Issue 5/6, 1999.
  6. Study “Last of the wild, Version 2” on the website “Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)” of the “Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)” at Columbia University, New York - query September 2012
  7. Hubertus Breuer: Corridors of Life. In: Die Zeit , No. 52/2002.
  8. a b c Erle C. Ellis, Navin Ramankutty: Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world . The Ecological Society of America , Washington DC 2008, pp. 439-450, here 441 f.
  9. Diercke . Dictionary of General Geography. Braunschweig 1984, ISBN 978-3-423-03422-7 .
  10. Martin Schwind: cultural landscape as an objectified spirit. In: Deutsche Geographische Blätter 46, 1951, pp. 4–5.
  11. Thomas Gunzelmann: monument landscape and cultural landscape - the landscape in heritage conservation. Conference text on monument protection and nature conservation - learning from each other and using synergies to preserve the natural and cultural heritage (Organizer: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation - International Nature Conservation Academy in cooperation with the Academy for Nature and Environment of the State of Schleswig-Holstein), Vilm Island, 25. – 27. October 2007.
  12. ^ Definition of cultural landscape on the website of the University of Kassel , accessed on February 4, 2014.
  13. ^ Dietrich Denecke : cultural landscape, settlement geography, cultural geography. In: Klaus Fehn and Anngret Simms (eds.): Ways of historical geography and cultural research. Steiner, Stuttgart 2005.
  14. Reinhard Piechocki: Landscape - Home - Wilderness. Munich 2010. ISBN 978-3406541520 .
  15. Hans Hermann Wöbse: “Cultural Landscape” and “Historical Cultural Landscape”. In: Information on Spatial Development Issue 5/6, 1999.
  16. ^ Hans Hermann Wöbse: Landscape Aesthetics . About the nature, meaning and handling of scenic beauty. Ulmer, Stuttgart 2002.
  17. Gottfried Briemle : Land consolidation - enrichment or impoverishment of the cultural landscape? In: Schwäbische Heimat 29, 1978, issue 4, pp. 226–233
  18. Hans Carol: The economic landscape and its cartographic representation. Kümmerly & Frey, Geographischer Verlag, Bern 1946.
  19. [1]
  20. Guidelines for the implementation of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (PDF; 468 kB) in the translation of the German Commission for UNESCO, Section II.A., Number 47. The Convention is the World Heritage Convention , German text at http : //
  21. Maclands: Master Of Cultural Landscapes ( English ) EACEA. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  22. Cultural Landscapes, M.Sc. ( English ) Studyportals BV Accessed on July 8, 2019.