Welcome to TerraNova, an Innovative Training Network consortium looking at climate change, human-environment interactions, and environmental policies in Europe. From 2019-2023, 15 PhD candidates will be conducting interdisciplinary research within these topics.
Landscapes provide essential services to humanity including water, food, energy, and clean air. But more than being simple providers of natural resources, landscapes have immeasurable value as cultural, scientific, educational, recreational and spiritual resources. Despite their importance to humanity, many landscapes and terrestrial ecosystems are presently threatened by a combination of proximal impacts such as deforestation, land degradation, uncontrolled (sub)-urbanization and human induced global change.
Sustainable landscape management and conservation in Europe faces multiple challenges including the water-food-energy nexus and the transition to a low-carbon society. A more nuanced understanding of the deep history of our cultural landscapes and the influence of changing human-environment interactions on the current state of the environment is required to be able to develop sustainable ways of dealing with landscape changes in the future. Particularly important for Europe’s landscapes are their relations to long-term history, as much of their cultural identities and values are embedded in their historical development. Events taking place over the last decades are currently taken as the baseline for addressing issues of landscape management, while archaeological research highlights that intense human impacts on the environment have a much longer history. Furthermore, the reliance on short term baselines often overlooks critical phases in the cyclicity and temporality of emerging landscape processes. Consequently, future sustainable landscape management requires capacity in accommodating current and future landscape processes blended with an understanding of cultural values and the landscape’s long-term natural and cultural development. This in turn requires the fostering of a new generation of landscape managers, planners and scientists, who are able to integrate the experimental and deductive lines of reasoning of the natural sciences with the holistic and critical perspectives of the humanities and social sciences adopting good communication skills to take this knowledge to policymakers and the public. TerraNova is exactly aimed to fill this urgent need, to promote sustainable use and conservation of landscapes.