Participation in the ETHLAS network


What is the "Ethnic Landscapes" (ETHLAS) network?

We are an international, multidisciplinary group of scientists, students and practitioners brought together by our aim to identify and preserve exceptional cultural landscapes.

This working group was formed by Dr. Johannes Gnädinger and Dr. Dóra Drexler of the Chair of Landscape Ecology at the Technical University of Munich, as part of a student project studying the region of Firtos, a traditional upland landscape in Transylvania. Later, the Faculty of Biology at Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, and the Mozaic Association joined the group as partners.

The Ethnic Landscapes group organises annual workshops and field trips, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through their "Eastern Partnership" programme.




The following is an excerpt from our article summarising the work of ETHLAS:

"In the context of the rapid standardisation of lifestyles, the loss of cultural landscapes and their characteristic elements (KAZAL et al. 2006), the loss of traditional knowledge and pratices related to land use, as well as the growing acknowledgement of the value of regional identities and a "unity in diversity" in Europe, the term "Ethnic Landscapes" represents a new approach to be developed and applied.

The concept of "Ethnic Landscapes" considers how a space is perceived by different ethnic groups, as well as how strongly a single ethnic group as part of the whole population influences (also through their power relationships) the shaping, perceptions and portrayals of a landscape. The study of ethnic landscapes is a new approach that, in contrast to the classical landscape planning approach focused on natural resources, takes the inhabitants of a landscape more into consideration.

Using the concept of "Ethnic Landscapes", we adhere the European Landscape Convention and thus also the question of how, considering the variability of our relationships to the landscape, we can better shape our environment in the future."


From: Gnädinger, J., Drexler, D., Heinemann, Th., Solymosi, K. & Paulini, I. (2011): Ethnische Landschaften - Ein neuer Ansatz zur Analyse, zum Schutz und zur Entwicklung traditioneller Kulturlandschaften. Laufener Spezialbeiträge 2011: 134-138.

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