LABscape is placed in ICAAM, at the University of Évora, where it exists since 2002. Today we are an internationally competitive team of 16 researchers including 10 experienced post-docs. We have expertise in rural geography and planning, remote sensing and spatial analysis and modelling, landscape ecology and engineering, governance and transdisciplinary processes of knowledge co-construction and action-oriented research. What makes us unique in the international sphere is our:
- focus on the rural landscapes of the Mediterranean context, and
- adoption of a dynamic systems approach to rural landscapes under which natural, social, spatial and cultural factors are integratively combined.
Our most significant achievement beyond current state of the art is the conceptualization and evidence of the uniqueness and complexity of the multiple
transition processes affecting Mediterranean rural landscapes. In addition, we
contribute with the validation of specific management models out of mainstream path-dependency and towards novel sustainability solutions. Such an approach makes us unique in the Portuguese context, with only a handful of similar research teams existing across Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean Europe.
Besides the 16 researchers currently involved in the team, we have hosted so far more than 50 researchers from different disciplines and nationalities. We strongly believe and rely on interdisciplinarity as a key pathway for innovation in the science-pratice-policy interface.
We have been involved as partners in 6 highly competitive H2020 projects to date, coordinating one of them, SALSA (Small farms, small food businesses and sustainable food security, EU grant nr. 677363, H2020-SFS-2015, 5M euros, www.salsa.uevora.pt). We are also the leading Portuguese partner in SUSTAINOLIVE. This is one of the only first three large projects approved under the PRIMA programme, which is the European Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, a specific EU long term research program for the Mediterranean region. In addition, we are also involved in a number of other European, national and regional research projects, with a long record of research in particular on the unique silvo-pastoral systems of Iberia.
We attract PhD and MsC students from Europe’s top universities, for long and short-term research stays, and also students from Africa and Brazil. Since 2009, we lead the Interdisciplinary Landscape Management PhD program, a collaborative program between the University of Lisbon, the University of Açores, and the University of Évora, and many of the PhD students from this program end up integrating our team.
We are also acting as a key triggering platform for social and institutional innovation in our region and at the national level. The increasing participation of multiple stakeholders in our regular open meetings are proof of the success of our applied research. Relevant examples include the open discussions about silvo-pastoral systems, active since 2016, and the many invitations that we have recieved to take part in more than 50 national and events and network meetings each year in the Southern Iberian Peninsula.
We have a growing list of international publications most often in collaboration with colleagues outside our team. In the last three years, since 2016, we have produced over 60 peer-reviewed papers in well-known international journals, as well as a number of chapters in books by international publishers also subject to peer-review, and co-authored a book in Cambridge University Press.
Our current research is organized in four thematic lines:
- Spatial analysis and modelling (Coord. Sérgio Godinho and Nuno Guiomar)
- Landscape services and spatial planning (Coord. José Muñoz-Rojas)
- Rural governance and decision making (Coord. Teresa Pinto-Correia)
- Transdisciplinarity and co-construction of knowledge (Coord. Helena Guimarães)