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Working Group Biocultural Landscape and seascape

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


Biocultural landscapes and seascapes 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 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). Our Working Group links these initiatives to others, e.g. the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe) and the EUCEL Initiative on European Culture expressed in Landscapes (CCLP-EC), expanding the concept to the fields of landscape ecology, cultural and sacred landscape, ecosystem and cultural services, seascape and traditional ecological Knowledge.

Members’ Objectives

The IALE members of the Working Group on Biocultural Landscape and Seascape improve recognition and understanding of the cultural and spiritual values of species, sites, landscapes, seascapes and their ecosystems. Therefore, we aim to support the link between cultural and ecological diversity, and to demonstrate ways in which biocultural landscape and seascape 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

  • First Symposium “Landscape Ecological Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Sacred Landscape” on 19/08/2011, and Plenary of Gloria Pungetti “Biocultural diversity for sustainable cultural, sacred and ecological landscapes” on 21/08/2011, at the IALE 8th World Congress in Beijing.
  • Second Symposium “Island Biocultural Diversity” in London on 22/08/2013 by the Asian Group at the INTECOL World Congress.
  • Third Symposium “Biocultural landscape conservation in the framework of landscape ecology: a European perspective” by the European Group on 12/09/2013 at the IALE European Congress in Manchester.
  • Fourth Symposium “Biocultural landscape diversity: building bridges from global approaches to local applications” by the Asian and European Groups joining on 8/07/2015 at the IALE World Congress in Portland, Oregon.
  • CBLS, the Centre for Biocultural Landscape and Seascape, has been set up as a joint effort UK-Italy in 2014-16, and has been dedicated to Professor Oliver Rackham.
  • Between 2012 and 2016 members of the Working Group have produced publications on biocultural landscape in books and scientific journals, and presented the topic at international conferences for wider dissemination.
  • EUROPE 2017: The European Group will gather at the IALE Europe Congress in Ghent in September 2017, organising the Fifth Symposium “Biocultural landscapes and the human scale of Ecology”

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 journals and books, and presenting studies at international conferences and workshops to disseminate results.
  • Exploring collaboration with Universities and Institutions to develop research projects, teaching activities and funding opportunities.
  • Running workshops and courses on the topic to support education, depending on funding.


Members are among landscape ecologists and scientists working on the topic worldwide. They have participated to the above IALE symposia organised in the past, and have paid a tribute to Professor Oliver Rackham, beloved friend, and mentor in the setting up of this Working Group.

Seeking to develop a global network, we are looking for other members working on biocultural landscape, seascape and diversity from the Americas, Africa and Oceania, as well as Europe and Asia. Those interested in education and research cooperation in this field are more than welcome to join our Working Group and to contact the coordinator below.


  • 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)




International Association for Landscape Ecology

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