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Ecosystem Management in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) faced with substantial changes in the last 25 years in social, political and economic context. The collapse of communism around 1990 led to new owners of land, a new, market oriented economy, thus a change in land use and management. Then, in 2004, 2007 and 2013 eleven countries joined the European Union, and introduced the EU legislation, among others, the Common Agricultural Policy. It is essential to study these changes for a deeper understanding ofhow substantial changes in socio-political context influence land use and ecosystem management. This special feature is to document different consequences of political changes via institutional transitions and socio-ecological drivers on landscape management, ecosystem services and biodiversity changes.

The authors represent a wide range of stakeholders, as besides the European researchers, Jan Potocnik, former commissioner of the European Union, Fikret Berkes, distinguished professor from Canada, and even cattle herders, owners of traditional ecological knowledge, authored the papers. This special demonstrate the substantial changes and its consequences in Central and Eastern Europe, and also the great diversity of social background and ecosystems in the region. As our World is under pressure of sudden political changes, the lessons of Central and Eastern Europe provide a firm base of global understanding.