Exploring links between culture and biodiversity: studying land use intensity from the plot to the landscape level

Matthias Bürgi*, Li Li, Thanasis Kizos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the term biocultural diversity has been promoted to raise awareness for the interrelationship between culture and biodiversity. Whereas the term is hard to conceptualize in general, specific links between culture and biodiversity can be explored. In this paper, we focus on land use, which is on one hand culturally coined, and has on the other hand far-reaching impacts on biodiversity. The specific effects of land use on biodiversity depend on its intensity, which can be parameterized in different way, not the least depending on the scale of observation. Based on a short review of different approaches on how to assess land use intensity (LUI), we propose a new conceptual framework reflecting the scaled nature of the linkages between land management and biodiversity. From the plot to the landscape level, different aspects of LUI are becoming relevant, some of which we illustrate with case studies from China, Greece and Switzerland. We conclude on how the framework proposed can further our understanding on the interconnectedness of humans and their environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3285-3303
Number of pages19
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity
  • Disturbance
  • Land use change
  • Land use intensity (LUI)
  • Landscape dynamics

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