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Logo: Institute of  Environmental Planning/Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo: Institute of  Environmental Planning/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Nature conservation is the aim - landscape management the implementation

Landscape management strives for the organization, protection, maintenance and development of landscapes with the aim of creating a sustainable efficient landscape that is healthy for human and attractive for recreation. Its intention is to prevent impairments of the ecosystem and natural scenery and to remove, compensate or reduce already existing impairments. Today landscape management is often defined more narrowly and reduced to the use and technical implementation of maintenance measures. Landscape management in its original sense is therefore often described as landscape development or landscape planning.

The teaching and research of the institute focuses on nature conservation in the definition of the Federal Nature Conservation Act. How and by what priority the human living conditions should be used, protected, maintained and developed has to be decided on the basis of legitimated social agreements. Based on ecological, socio-economical, aesthetical and cultural analyses, aims and guidelines ("Leitbilder") have to be developed, which are spatial differentiated and implementation-oriented. This is the task of landscape planning in the wider context. It includes the planning part of all instruments, such as environmental impact assessment, intervention regulation as well as maintenance - and development planning, that contribute to the development of the landscape. But it also encompasses "instruments" that are legally non-regulated , such as cooperation models, environmental education and public relations.

Landscape planning in a narrower sense is one part of this comprehensive area of work and it describes the plans defined by the second section of the Federal Nature Conservation Act. These plans include the landscape program, the landscape master or framework plan and the landscape plan.

What are the thematic focuses?

The Institution of Environmental Planning pursues different applied working fields. What they have in common is the strong relation to planning:

  • Landscape planning and Nature Conservation
     (Prof. Dr. Christina v. Haaren)
  • Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology
     (Prof. Dr. Michael Reich)
  • Vegetation Management
     (Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Prasse)
  • Engineering Biology
     (Prof. Dr. Eva Hacker)

In the area of landscape planning and nature conservation, research and teaching are directed to contexts, methods and strategies of landscape plans, the environmental impact assessment and the intervention regulation as well as to the ecological orientation of urban land-use planning.

The applied working field of nature conservation and landscape ecology refers to the endangerment and protection of species, populations and ecosystems within their landscape context. A focal point lies on the promotion and restoration of dynamic processes and functional relations.

In vegetation management special emphasis is devoted to the consideration of aspects of nature conservation and species protection when dealing with flora and vegetation. It includes basic research in population biology in Germany and abroad as well as their combination with landscape planning questions.

Engineering biology deals with the differentiated use of plants for varying technical tasks in different landscapes.

As the tasks of landscape management and nature conservation have expanded, new working directions were developed at the institute:

In the field of nature and landscape experience, recreation and tourism planning, new methodological approaches are developed and tested for the inventory and assessment of the scenic experience potential. Thereby also new paths had to be stroked away from the common scientific understanding in order to link natural - and social science contexts and to consider the emotional as well as the mental side of human impressions and experiences. The needs for landscape oriented recreation as well as the recreation potentials and sensitivity of landscapes are investigated. The search for ways to prevent and to solve conflicts requires the involvement and participation of different interest groups.

Since a couple of years more and more attention is given to communication and public relations in nature conservation. Meanwhile they emerged as an own research field with studies concerning the presence of environmental topics in media and the fields of application of electronic media for interactive landscape planning.

How to convey the matters of comprehensively understood nature conservation in a target group oriented and sustainable manner is an important topic of environmental education.

Computer-assisted methods of information processing and communication become more important with the growing complexity of landscape planning questions. In particular the application of geographic information systems (GIS) is focussed. For the environmental monitoring remote sensing (aerial and satellite photographs) provides the most important data base for the development of geo information systems.

The broad professional spectrum of landscape planning and nature conservation tasks cannot be covered by the institutional resources exclusively. Therefore research projects are more and more carried out across institutes and interdisciplinary, e.g. with experts from sociology, history, architecture, horticulture, agricultural sciences, economics and civil engineering. The institutes own teaching is supplemented by lectureships and visiting lecturers, for instance for tree maintenance and protection, forest planning, nature conservation in administration as well as environmental law.