This session focuses on the definition and comparison of systematic analysis methods and indicators assessing how well an ecosystem works as a biogeochemical system, that is how well a landscape retains and utilizes its vital resources (water, nutrients, soil) working as a unique system.
Monitoring landscape “health” over time in response to environmental, anthropic or external drivers has a great importance for land managers, from individuals to governments, especially when the monitoring output has a direct relevance for planning and management decision-making. So that the big challenge for planners and analysts is to predict the response of the landscape working as a unique system and assess its functionality defining the particular status of the processes that regulate the availability of vital resources in space and time.
In this context a Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) can be seen as a procedure based on acquired field estimated or theoretical derived indicators to assess the biogeochemical, physical and hydrological functioning of landscapes. Landscape function can be seen a continuum, ranging from “fully functional” to “totally dysfunctional” and conceptually referring to how well the landscape is performing as a unique system that is characterizing its social and economic degrees of freedom as far as possible.
Suitable and efficient indicators and methods are hoped and needed to describe the landscape functionality, define its development status in order to predict future evolution, changes and impacts of different land uses, management and planning actions and climatic inputs.
The functional assessment of a landscape also undergoes to a social needs requirements, which can be expressed in terms of the suitability of a particular landscape to a particular purpose or land use.
Contributions and experimental applications results are encouraged and expected to improve in understanding how landscape evolution processes happen and to provide adaptive management models and tools for decision-making and environmental planning.