A Handbook for Managers of Cultural Landscapes with Natural Resource Values Conservation Study Institute
Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
Executive Summary
An Overview of Cultural Landscape Preservation
Appendix A: Interview Guide
Appendix B: National Park Service Definitions for Cultrual Landscape Types
Appendix C: World Heritage Convention Definitions of Cultural Landscapes
Appendix D: National Register Bulletins Relevant to Cultural Landscapes
Appendix E: List of Interviewees
Appendix F: Source Materials for Case Studies
Appendix G: Web Sites Relevant to Cultural Landscapes
View Case Studies

Appendix C: World Heritage Convention Definitions of Cultural Landscapes

35. With respect to cultural landscapes, the Committee has furthermore adopted the following guidelines concerning their inclusion in the World Heritage List.

36. Cultural landscapes represent the "combined works of nature and of man" designated in Article 1 of the Convention. They are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic, and cultural forces, both external and internal. They should be selected on the basis both of their outstanding universal value and of their representativity in terms of a clearly defined geo-cultural region and also for their capacity to illustrate the essential and distinct cultural elements of such regions.

37. The term "cultural landscape" embraces a diversity of manifestations of the interaction between humankind and its natural environment.

38. Cultural landscapes often reflect specific techniques of sustainable land-use, considering the characteristics and limits of the natural environment they are established in, and a specific spiritual relation to nature. Protection of cultural landscapes can contribute to modern techniques of sustainable land-use and can maintain or enhance natural values in the landscape. The continued existence of traditional forms of land-use supports biological diversity in many regions of the world. The protection of traditional cultural landscapes is therefore helpful in maintaining biological diversity.

39. Cultural landscapes fall into three main categories, namely:

  1. The most easily identifiable is the clearly defined landscape designed and created intentionally by man. This embraces garden and parkland landscapes constructed for aesthetic reasons which are often (but not always) associated with religious or other monumental buildings and ensembles.

  2. The second category is the organically evolved landscape. This results from an initial social, economic, administrative, and/or religious imperative and has developed its present form by association with and in response to its natural environment. Such landscapes reflect that process of evolution in their form and component features. They fall into two sub-categories:

    • a relict (or fossil) landscape is one in which an evolutionary process came to an end at some time in the past, either abruptly or over a period. Its significant distinguishing features are, however, still visible in material form.
    • a continuing landscape is one which retains an active social role in contemporary society closely associated with the traditional way of life, and in which the evolutionary process is still in progress. At the same time it exhibits significant material evidence of its evolution over time.

  3. The final category is the associative cultural landscape. The inclusion of such landscapes on the World Heritage List is justifiable by virtue of the powerful religious, artistic, or cultural associations of the natural element rather than material cultural evidence, which may be insignificant or even absent.

40. The extent of a cultural landscape for inclusion on the World Heritage List is relative to its functionality and intelligibility. In any case, the sample selected must be substantial enough to adequately represent the totality of the cultural landscape that it illustrates. The possibility of designating long linear areas which represent culturally significant transport and communication networks should not be excluded.

41. The general criteria for conservation and management laid down in paragraph 24.(b).(ii) above are equally applicable to cultural landscapes. It is important that due attention be paid to the full range of values represented in the landscape, both cultural and natural. The nominations should be prepared in collaboration with and the full approval of local communities.

42. The existence of a category of "cultural landscape," included on the World Heritage List on the basis of the criteria set out in paragraph 24 above, does not exclude the possibility of sites of exceptional importance in relation to both cultural and natural criteria continuing to be included. In such cases, their outstanding universal significance must be justified under both sets of criteria.

(UNESCO. World Heritage Convention. Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Paris: UNESCO, 1996.)

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