This is an email from People • Nature • Landscapes , a newsletter by People • Nature • Landscapes.

Social-Ecological Interactions Continued

Since our last newsletter, People • Nature • Landscapes has evolved further into a rich collection of research reports. While social and natural systems are often perceived as separate worlds, and examined through different lenses, our focus continues on the interactions between them.

This approach allows us to develop new and in-depth understandings of today’s pressing environmental issues — including climate change, landscape abandonment, urbanization and biodiversity loss. In addition, however, we document and recognize ongoing human-nature connections: sacred groves, urban greenspaces and food labels are just some examples that may counter the much-cited argument of people’s alienation from nature.

Our research journeys take us to a multitude of places, all brimming with stories, and yet they only provide a small glimpse of the rich diversity of landscapes that exist around the globe.

Wherever we are, we find beautiful landscapes— but how and why do they inspire us?

Recent Stories

Photo by Emmeline Topp

South Africa: Landscape through the lens

Emmeline Topp reflects on her experience of delving into the social and natural landscapes of the South-African renosterveld, to her, “one of the starkest examples (…) of our human ability to transform the surface of the Earth”.

Photo by Mariotorralbav

Why Landscapes Are Beautiful: Influences on human wellbeing

Across Europe, people perceive rural landscapes to significantly contribute to their wellbeing. Imke Horstmannshoff gives insights into a multi-site research project aiming to find out the details…

Photo by Irene Holm Sørensen

Cork: Tracing a natural material in everyday life

Many of the things we use every day consist of it, but few people know its actual origin. Irene Holm Sørensen traces the roots and paths of cork. This multi-faceted material originates in the Mediterranean cork oak forests, which are “the result of a long-term co-existence between people and wildlife”.

Source: Wikimedia /

Food from Forests: Labelling agroforestry food

“We often know little about how and where our food is produced“, but we increasingly want to take well-informed decisions on what we buy and eat. With the help of food labels, this issue may be solved, yet until today there is no recognized label for agroforestry products. Lukas Flinzberger gives recommendations from his research.

Photo by Shakeri Zahed

Sacred Groves in Kurdistan: Biodiversity as a by-product

Local natural sites are places “where local myths and ecological knowledge meet environmental protection.” Shakeri Zahed shows how and why sacred groves contribute to bio(-cultural) diversity in Kurdistan.

Photo by André de Saint-Paul, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tree-Crop Landscapes: Histories of future-proof agriculture

“What did people eat before that short period in human history we are living in today, in which nutrition is so intensely based on annual agriculture?” Tree-crop landscapes represent one alternative that has been widely distributed in the past. Franziska Wolpert reports on the many histories behind this agricultural practice.

Photo by Pramila Thapa

Bengaluru, the Garden City!

Today, Bengaluru is well-known as an IT hub, but it also hosts manifold greenspaces, which is why it is called the ‘Garden City’ of India. Within the frame of her doctoral research, Pramila Thapa has done on-site fieldwork on (the use of) green infrastructures — until, all of a sudden, plans had to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We hope you enjoy reading. Stay in touch for more landscape research (a small outlook below), and please share this blog with whoever might be interested.

— the Social-Ecological Interactions Group

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Upcoming Story

Masters of Land Use: Research on Pastoralism

Graeme Dean will provide insights into pastoralist livestock farming and the in some regards surprising ways in which these perfectly well-adapted land-use systems have been researched around the world…




People • Nature • Landscapes reports stories and research updates from the Social-Ecological Interactions Group based at the Universities of Göttingen & Kassel. We showcase news from our international research on rural landscapes, ecosystem services, and sustainable land use.

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Imke Horstmannshoff

Imke Horstmannshoff

MA Global Studies. Project Manager & Science Communicator at the Chair of Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems Göttingen/Kassel

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