Landscape functionality and conservation management
Co-Convener: Veerle Van Eetvelde 
Oral Programme
 / Fri, 08 Apr, 13:30–15:00  / Room 3
Poster Programme
 / Attendance Fri, 08 Apr, 15:30–17:00  / Display Fri, 08 Apr, 08:00–17:00  / Hall XL
Poster Summaries & DiscussionsPSD6 

This session focuses on the definition and comparison of systematic analysis methods and indicators (e.g. field and/or remote sensing derived 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) and produces goods and services 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 in decision-making processes.
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 social needs requirements, which can be expressed in terms of the suitability of a particular landscape to a particular purpose or land use.
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, that is the landscape capacity to provide the so called ecosystem services.
A landscape equilibrium status should be pursued between antropic pressures and landscape responses in order to maintain its functionality and preserve its natural resources. Landscape resilience and critical ecological thresholds could also be assessed to prevent antropic actions impact from altering ecosystems irreversibly.
Moreover the recent European Landscape Convention encourages the european member states to plan and manage landscapes according to their distintive features and peculiarities. Hence, a great importance has to be aimed at landscape characterization and classifications even recurring to statistical methods and/or GIS techniques to identify homogeneous sectors, that can be seen as landscape units, for the model implementations and suitable management strategies definition.
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.
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.