The Necessity of Defining a New Science of the Landscape

In the recent congress of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) in Darwin (2003), many empirical studies confirmed that the patterns and processes occurring in the landscape can capture the interest of science and of politicians and practitioners as well. This contribution presents a vision according to a theory of the landscape and the way studies of the landscape can be so different and peculiar as to impel us to create a new science of the landscape.

Science is the entire universe of theories, paradigms, principles, and operative tools that regard a specific aspect of our world. Or one can define a science as the emergent property of knowledge on a distinct field. To receive full achievement and validation, a science needs several cultural tools, starting from ontology, philosophy, epistemology, and semiotics. Mathematical models should be anticipated by conceptual and linguistic models.

Every science requires a specific language and landscape science is not an exception. For this reason, when we start to describe the landscape we are strongly encouraged to adopt a language that can describe exactly the phenomena with which we are dealing.

The landscape is an entity shared by different philosophies, different paradigms, different methods and scaling. It requires a common semantic basis and related principles.

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