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Abstract: The notions of landscape and nature play explicit and central roles in European environmental policy and governance – most prominently in the European Landscape Convention and Natura 2000. In the United States, recent establishment by the Department of Interior of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives has elevated science-management partnerships around landscape conservation, but formal environmental policy is fundamentally different from European counterparts. An ongoing collaboration between Dr. Courtney Flint and colleagues at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria broadly explores similarities and differences between European and U.S. discourse, scholarship, and policy regarding landscapes and human-nature relationships. Specifically, we recently synthesized English and German language literature and theory on human-nature relationships in order to operationalize this concept for empirical study of the roles perceived human-nature relationships play in motivating or inhibiting engagement in landscape sustainability or conservation activities. On-going comparative case studies explore the relationship between farmers’ human-nature relationships and their conservation or agri-environmental practices as well as similar inquiry with stakeholders engaged in river restoration and lake water quality management.
Speaker Bio: Dr. Courtney Flint is a natural resource sociologist and the head of the Environmental Interactions Lab. She is interested in the collective knowledge, perceptions, values and actions rural people bring to the "table" of natural resource management and decision making. Her research has taken her from the forests, coasts, and tundra of Alaska, to the mountains of Colorado, the farmlands of Illinois, and the rich cultural landscapes of Austria and Switzerland. She is leading multiple initiatives to forge transdisciplinary networks to build new knowledge and practice networks on biodiversity conservation and cultural landscapes. She loves the opportunity her research affords to connect with people who have strong ties to their landscape and community.