The problematic separation of nature and culture in Western ontologies has contributed to an instrumental approach to the natural and culture world. Within heritage policy, this binary division is reproduced in splitting up “natural” and “cultural” landscapes in national and international legal and administrative frameworks resulting in the problematic separation of natural and cultural resources in the practice of planning and development. More recent calls for “connectivity ontologies” (Rodney Harrison) and “multi-naturalist perspectives” (Bruno Latour) aim to broaden discussions of sustainability to encompass human and non-human actors and environments.
As cultural heritage encompasses elements of nature and the nature is an intrinsic element of the past shared culture heritage, there is need to integrate both types of heritage. In particular, the preservation, management, and conservation of such integrated heritage should become an indispensable element of international and national policies as well as every conservation activity. As these two types of heritage operate in two largely impenetrable organizational frameworks, common concerns of both cultural and natural heritage have hardly been systematically defined and remain largely unknown by professionals from opposed sectors. This situation remains unchanged despite different UNESCO and ICOMOS attempts to address the right equilibrium between cultural heritage promotion, preservation and environmental sustainability.
As both heritage domains need to be systematically integrated, it is required that their nature along with their constituent relations as well as the intertwined relations are identified and thoroughly presented. One of the most efficient strategies of meeting these objectives is to enhance competences of professionals in both domains that can be achieved by developing and upgrading vocational skills in the sector of protection and management of cultural and natural heritage. The EU Erasmus Plus project ANHER ‘Innovative format of education and training of the integrated cultural and natural heritage’ aimed at meeting these challenges and effectively contributed to strengthening the integration of both domains of heritage.