What is landscape?

Landscape is more than a view. It can be the ever-changing backdrop to our lives or a location for leisure.

Landscape can mean a park, a piece of wasteland, a beach, a mountain or a forest. It is also about how people relate to these places and to nature – what they value about it and how they respond to landscape change.

Natural or cultural landscapes

‘Natural landscapes’ consist entirely of natural elements. The high summits of the Cairngorm mountain range form one of Scotland’s natural landscapes.

‘Cultural landscapes’ are largely the result of human activity. Examples include our arable farmland and urban areas.

Most of Scotland’s landscapes are a mix of natural and cultural elements, thanks to such interactions. This gives rise to the definition of landscape by the European Landscape Convention as “An area as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction or natural and/or human factors.”

Find out how Landscape Character Assessment has been used to describe and map Scotland’s great variety of landscapes.

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