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The Human Landscape


The benefits that people derive from landscapes depend not only on what kinds of ecosystems are present, but also on who uses them and how.

The ways in which people use and impact land depends upon social preferences and needs, and on economic and demographic patterns. Land use information is clearly important for understanding human relationships with ecosystem services, but it is not sufficient in itself. Social and economic data are also crucial, but they can be more challenging because they are rarely tailored to meet the needs of resource management and conservation efforts.

Nonetheless, using these kinds of information to better understand how and why people interact with their environment can improve conservation efforts in a variety of ways, including better directing local efforts to community needs and helping promote community participation.

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