Working Group ‘Biocultural Landscape‘

The IALE Working Group on Biocultural Landscape aims to offer a landscape ecology perspective on the development and conservation of biocultural landscapes worldwide. 


Biocultural landscapes embed high ecological and cultural values, and reveal the link between nature and culture. This link is essential for understanding the character of these landscapes, providing tools for their conservation and development, and advancing studies in landscape ecology. 
Research on biocultural landscape has been recently carried out worldwide, e.g. with the 3S Initiative on Sacred Species and Sites (CCLP-IUCN), and the Joint Programme on Biocultural Diversity (UNESCO-SCBD). This Working Group has expanded the concepts of these initiatives to the fields of landscape ecology, cultural and sacred landscape, ecosystem and cultural services, seascape and traditional ecological knowledge. It has also linked the above initiatives to others, such as the EUCEL on European Culture expressed in Landscapes (CCLP-EC) and the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe).

Members’ Objectives 

The IALE members of the Working Group on Biocultural Landscape have pointed out from their research that it is necessary to improve recognition and understanding of the cultural and spiritual values of species, sites, landscapes, seascapes and their ecosystems. Therefore, this group aims to support the link between cultural and ecological diversity, and in particular, to demonstrate ways in which biocultural landscape and landscape ecology can contribute to the conservation of both nature and culture. 

Working Group Framework 

  • Set up on 19/08/2011 at the IALE 8th World Congress in Beijing with the Symposium “Landscape Ecological Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Sacred Landscape”.
  • Approved by the IALE Committee and formally established in August 2014.
  • Divided so far into two sections: Europe and Asia; they are working in tandem with the long-term aim of covering all continents. 


Chronology of Activities

  • The Asian Group gathered at the INTECOL World Congress Symposium “Island Biocultural Diversity” in London on 22/08/2013, where biocultural landscapes were discussed.
  • The European Group gathered at the IALE European Congress in Manchester on 12/09/2013, organising the Symposium “Biocultural landscape conservation in the framework of landscape ecology: a European perspective”, which focused on the topic of the Working Group.
  • The Asian and European Groups joined at the IALE World Congress in Portland, Oregon, on 8/07/2015 running the Symposium “Biocultural landscape diversity: building bridges from global approaches to local applications”, where research results have been reported.
  • Members of the Working Group have produced between 2012 and 2015 publications on biocultural landscape in books and scientific journals, and presented the topic at international conferences for wider dissemination.


Planned Activities

  • Meeting worldwide every four years at the IALE World Congress, organising a symposium to share results and advance research in the topic.
  • Meeting every four years - two years after each World Congress - at the IALE Congresses in Europe and Asia, organising symposia to discuss research and prepare for the next IALE World Congress.
  • Publishing research in scientific journals, reports and books, and presenting studies at international conferences and workshops to disseminate results.
  • Exploring collaboration with Universities and Institutions to develop research projects and teaching activities.Running workshops and courses on the topic, when resources are found, to support education.
  • Designing a website and a wiki, if funds are available, for an open internal discussion.


Upcoming Events

  • EUROPE 2017: The European Group will gather at the IALE Europe Congress in Ghent in 2017 and will organize a Symposium on Biocultural Landscape.
  • ASIA 2017: The Asian Working Group will gather at a conference in Asia in 2017, place TBC.



The Members of this Working Group are among the participants of the IALE symposia, as well as other IALE landscape ecologists and scientists working on the topic worldwide. 
CCLP (Cambridge Centre for Landscape and People, University of Cambridge UK) and the Working Group Members mourn the passing of Professor Oliver Rackham in 2015, beloved friend and mentor in the setting up of this Working Group.
We seek to develop a global network towards a worldwide working group on the subject, and we are looking for other members working on biocultural landscape, seascape and diversity, especially from the Americas, Africa and Oceania. Interested colleagues are more than welcome to join our Working Group, to carry out the legacy of Professor Rackham and to foster research cooperation in this new field. Together we shall disseminate wider the advances on biocultural landscape research.


COORDINATOR: Prof Gloria Pungetti (CCLP Cambridge University, UK)  cclp(at)
EUROPE: Prof Jala Makhzoumi (CCLP Cambridge University, UK)  cclp(at) 
ASIA: Prof Sun-Kee Hong (Mokpo National University, Republic of Korea) landskhong(at)


Competitive call: Support for Chapter Conferences, Working Group activities and support for Conference trips

We wish to invite you in contributing to IALE International´s activities

IALE 2017 European Congress

Ghent, 12-15 September 2017

New IALE Bulletin out now!

Volume 34 no. 4, December 2016