The European Landscape Convention emphasises the human perception of landscapes in its definition of the landscape, and promotes citizen participation in landscape management processes. On the other hand, landscape definitions adopted by the natural scientific tradition of landscape research, emphasises a material understanding of the landscape, with a more descriptive focus that includes landscape mapping. We discuss the inherent conflict between the ELC definition and propose that the ELC and natural scientific landscape definitions can be made complementary by considering landscape research as a two-phase process. The landscapes are typified, characterised and mapped in accordance with the natural science-based material landscape tradition in the first phase, and stakeholders of all kinds can be invited into an open process of landscape evaluation and development of management strategies and policies in a second phase of landscape analysis. We exemplify how the first phase in this two-phase process can be carried out, giving an overview of the system for landscape typification and characterisation developed for Nordland County, Norway as part of the Nature in Norway (NiN) system for typification and description of nature’s variation. The role of such a system in landscape research is briefly outlined and plans for further development of the system into a landscape classification system intended for mapping of landscapes in all of Norway, are presented.
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