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In September 2018, the Newton Gateway, in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), ran a two-day scoping workshop on evidence based decision making for UK landscapes. This resulted in a one-month Research Programme, funded by NERC, at the Isaac Newton Institute (INI) during July 2019, focusing on the mathematical and statistical challenges involved in landscape decision making. A key aim of the programme was to develop a new community from the diverse research base to help stakeholders involved in the planning, management, and policy of land use in the UK make better evidence-based decisions.

Landscapes are complex systems, involving interactions between ecological and environmental processes and human decision making. Mathematical sciences are integral to the development of tools and methodologies which are needed to capture the complexity and uncertainty inherent in landscape decision making. A critical challenge was to identify where mathematics could significantly advance the modelling of landscape systems, and ultimately enable decision makers to make better evidence-based decisions that take a holistic view.