It is increasingly recognized that growing demands for diverse, multifunctional and quality recreation landscapes have placed a high pressure on the natural resources and its management. This fact coupled with the current common way of perceiving landscape as something separate from us, with several functions for society and individuals – in spite of something that changes automatically according to cultural, economic and social changes, enhances the necessity for developing new approaches and methodologies that effectively apply sustainable principles to landscape monitoring, planning and management. For this reason, adequate information about the existing landscape and about the nature of places that it is desirable to make cannot be the result of superficial approaches based exclusively on designers and planners’ ideas. Even if planning and monitoring programs frequently use remote sensing data and focus only on changes in land cover and land use in relation to values such as biodiversity, land capability and recreation, they often neglect landscape aesthetics, cultural heritage and public will. To show that it is possible to combine all these factors in a specific approach, this paper presents a specific study of the estuarine landscape of the Arade River in Algarve, Portugal, based on a methodology that incorporates SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and aesthetic, cultural, biophysical and social factors in landscape assessment.
landscape aesthetics, landscape quality assessment, SWOT analysis
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