The potential of labelling in landscape management

During the Green Week 2016 in Brussels, the HERCULES Project organised an interesting workshop about the Potential of Labelling in landscape management. Carol Ritchie – EUROPARC’s Executive Director – made a presentation where she emphasized the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas and shared some good examples arising from EUROPARC’s networl.

Labelling in landscape management

There are currently a number of labelling schemes present in the EU today, some of which actively promote good land management practices. Private benefits of labelling include increasing market recognition of products as well as providing an opportunity for farmers and land managers to charge a premium price on their products. Labelling is generally targeted at a landscape scale rather than at farm scale. This scaled up approach has the potential to lower transaction costs of payment schemes. Furthermore, labelling schemes may increase inclusivity by delivering payments for ecosystem services to all stakeholders through social and infrastructure investments.

In this workshop, the potentials of labelling approaches were further discussed for sustainable landscape development from various perspectives. Policy makers, practitioners and researchers shared their ideas on, and experiences with labelling approaches and financing in the European context, and discussed ways forward.

What landscape labels could add is a coordinated way to establish integrated, inter-sectoral and multi-level governance and financing mechanisms to plan and manage cultural landscapes at a regional level. They bear chances for creating new alliances and networks to direct landscape management towards sustainable practices and outcomes. However, they could also be perceived as “just another label”.

Download the minutes of the meeting below and download the presentations here.


Europe’s Parks and Protected Areas has been a successful label for over 170 years and is a potential for further environmental, social and economic benefits. This is why Carol Ritchie introduced EUROPARC Federation by focusing on a variety of landscapes in different countries such as, Snowdonia in Wales, Skaftafell in Iceland, Jostedalsbreen in Norway, Fertő Hanság in Hungary, Kemeri in Latvia, Cevennes in France, La Albufera in Spain, Triglav in Slovenia, Piatra Ciaiului in Romania or Goreme in Turkey. All these areas are protected and members of the Federation.

The mission of EUROPARC is to work for natural and cultural heritage in order to improve and champion policy and practice of Protected Area management to deliver sustainable and valued nature. Furthermore, Carol Ritchie insisted on the fact that a variety of landscapes is part of  national identity:

often sculpted by nature and shaped by people. [It] influenced course of history, inspired artists and thinkers and enriched lives.

She then followed her presentation by introducing the National Parks Label by talking about Wales’ National Parks and by giving key valuation. Briefly, Wales’ National Park covers 20% of Wales and accounts for over half a billion pounds of Wales’ Gross Values Added representing 1.2% of the Welsh economy. Nearly 30 000 people are employed within the Parks and 38% of jobs provided are linked to the environment. The Parks receive 12 million visitors each year spending about £1 billion on goods and services.

The National Parks Authorities receive funding of about £15m per annum, representing less than £5 per person in Wales. In addition, Wales National Parks are composed of a residential population of over 80 000 people and recruit and coordinate over 15 000 hours of volunteering activity each year.

Concerning environment and ecosystem services, the National Parks compose of around 20% of the land area of Wales. They also contain a number of important reservoirs supplying water (£6.7 m per year). The National Parks are developing land management practices within the river catchment areas in order to reduce flood damage and its costs.

Moreover, her presentation brought different examples of landscape labelling which can work on a bigger scale such as the “Parque Natural de Andalucia”. Indeed, about a fifth of Andalucia is protected. 24 parks use the “Parque” brand, including 178 business and 1400 produces and services.

Finally, Mrs. Ritchie introduced the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in protected areas (ECST), which in 2015 represented 144 charter areas in 17 countries. Their principles include giving priority to protection, contributing to sustainable development, engaging all stakeholders, planning sustainable tourism and pursuing continuous improvement. Well-managed sustainable tourism that the ECST encourages brings measurable economic, social and environmental benefits. It also serves to strengthen relations with local tourism stakeholders and the wider tourism industry. The ECST also provides access and membership to an extensive and dynamic European network. The ECST can encourage customers to respect the environment, to engage in energy and water saving activities and to use environmentally friendly products as well as reducing, recycling and managing waste.