Policy Working Group

Enhancing Landscape Ecology’s role in Policy Making

Landscape ecologists investigate the interaction between human activities and the environment at many scales, from local to global. Landscape ecology thus offers critical and relevant information to policy makers, from municipalities to the United Nations, on many of the most critical policy issues of our time, including land use, air and water pollution, invasive species, and climate change. However, most policymakers and practitioners have little awareness of how insights from landscape ecology can improve policy development and implementation, chiefly because this knowledge is not easily accessible to them.
Landscape ecologists should be seen as a valuable source of information for policy makers, and should endeavor to provide the information and answer the questions that are of most use to policy makers. However, most researchers are typically not trained to provide guidance to policymakers and practitioners in a format they can use. The Policy Working Group promotes access to landscape ecology research findings for policymakers and practitioners.



Our goals are to:   

  • identify opportunities where the field of LE can inform policy related to pressing issues;
  • support landscape ecologists interested in translating their research results into policy;
  • engage with policy makers to identify key information needs that landscape ecologists can investigate;
  • encourage landscape ecologists to identify gaps between knowledge and existing policy;
  • support training for landscape ecologists to work in policy-related fields;
  • prepare reports and white papers in collaboration with other professional societies.


Upcoming events and plans

In 2018, the Working group will be tasked with forming a more explicit governance structure, including multiple positions beyond Chair and specific roles and responsibilities for each position. The group will also be looking to collaborate with other Working Groups on emerging issues. One potential is to produce a working paper on the IPBES products regarding the contributions that landscape ecology can make to informed policies for preserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems at large scales.


Past events

We hosted a “Policy and Landscape Ecology” symposium at the next meeting of the US-IALE in Baltimore, MD, USA in April 2017. The symposium consisted of talks given by invited speakers, followed by a panel discussion where invited speakers discussed emerging questions:

  • In what ways has the field of landscape ecology specifically contributed to enacted policies? Missed opportunities? Low hanging fruit?
  • How can landscape ecology inform policy at the local, regional, national, or global level? Please give examples.
  • How have policies stemming from LE research been misapplied or misinterpreted in the policy realm? Implications? Remedies?
  • Discussion with the audience followed.

2016: Africa IALE
Special Session on Integration of Landscape Ecology and Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Development of Urban Areas in Africa.  The session was organized by Africa-IALE during the International Conference of The African Association of Remote Sensing of The Environment (AARSE) from October 24-28, 2016 in Kampala, Uganda.

Joining the group

All colleagues interested in contributing to our working group are welcome to contact us (see email addresses of committee chair and members below). We are especially seeking members who are involved in policy making and as such welcome planners, elected officials, and other practitioners to join our group.

Audrey Mayer (almayer(at) - Chair

Rob Scheller (rschell(at) - Member

Yolanda Wiersma (ywiersma(at) - Member

Jonathan Bossenbroek (jonathan.bossenbroek(at) - Member

Sarah Dumyahn (dumyahn.sarah(at) - Member

Amelie Davis (davis.amelie(at) - Member

Brian Buma (bbuma(at) - Member




International Multidisciplinary Combined Event

- September 9-13, 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia -

Competitive call

Support for IALE Chapter and Working Group (WG) activities

10th IALE World Congress – Call for abstracts!

July 01-05, 2019 in Milan, Italy

New IALE Bulletin out now!

Volume 37 no. 1, May 2019