Identifying and assessing the potential for conflict between landscape values and development preferences on the Faroe Islands

Tobias Plieninger* (Corresponding Author), Halla Áargarð av Rana, Nora Fagerholm, Gunnvá Fossaberg Ellingsgaard, Eyðfinn Magnussen, Christopher M. Raymond, Anton Stahl Olafsson, Laura N.H. Verbrugge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Small islands are characterised by geographic isolation, strong place attachment, and vulnerabilities to social, economic, and ecological changes. They are often subject to development activities that raise concerns about impacts on multiple land- and seascape values. This study elicits a range of land- and seascape values, development preferences, and land-use conflicts in a Northern Atlantic islands setting. We do so by linking participatory mapping with narrative analysis techniques to elicit landscape values and development preferences and to identify the potential for land-use conflicts. Four narratives were illustrative of human-nature relationships in the North Atlantic, revealing a great appreciation for wildlife and landforms, for peaceful and undisturbed ecosystems, for open access to land and sea, and for people being part of nature as major themes. The overlay of mapped landscape values and development preferences identified areas with a high potential for future land-use conflicts. Tourism development had a particularly high potential for conflicts. The local narratives on development activities – tourism, renewable energy, and fish farming/processing – confirmed diverging viewpoints. Respondents acknowledged the need for new economic opportunities that may create employment and wealth, but were concerned about negative effects for nature and society and the perceived inability to govern these developments. We argue that planning for multiple landscape values and preferences is crucial to manage the potential for trade-offs in land- and seascape development that is influenced by a range of pressures and drivers of change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-180
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal environmental change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Cultural values
  • Faroe Islands
  • Land-use conflicts
  • Narratives
  • Social-ecological systems


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