Context and matrix have received increasing importance in understanding and empowering local socioecological sustainability in rural communities. The ecosystem services approach, in particular, has provided innovative tools and possibilities to weigh, compare, and balance various services and goods that are made available in different habitats and land cover types in a landscape continuum. This study includes large-landscape case studies in Sweden, Canada, and Chile (the Vilhelmina, Prince Albert, and Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forests). Despite different premises, the case studies share fundamental aspects of rural community sustainability problems and solutions, e.g., marginalized indigenous peoples, dependence of natural resources, and the importance of small-scale and site-specifi c livelihood and manufacturing of natural resources. In addition, the study sites represent a comprehensive gradient of duration and degree of land-use impact and, hence, the need for landscape restoration. In an ecosystem services context these case studies allow for multifunctional, scale-independent and spatially explicit assessments of good and services from alpine, agricultural, and forest habitats. Opportunities and barriers for sustainability, from various perspectives, are explored using large-landscape modeling, planning, and scenario analyses.
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