The Committee was founded in 1971 and called the International Scientific Committee on Historic Gardens and Sites. Its first president was Mr.René Pechère. In 1999, the ICOMOS Executive Committee approved a change of name to the International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL). This name reflects a shift from a focus on gardens to the broader concept of 'cultural landscapes’, a term introduced in the 1992 Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
Cultural landscapes are defined in the Operational Guidelines (UNESCO 2013) as cultural properties that represent the combined works of nature and of people.
Three main categories are:
(i) designed landscapes and created intentionally by people; mainly parks and gardens.
(ii) organically evolved landscape, that may be relict or continuing
(iii) associative cultural landscape
In the twentieth century several reasons converge in a re-consideration of the landscape from the cultural point of view, ending with the traditional dichotomy that seemed to exist between nature conservation and cultural heritage. Landscapes are understood as complex systems where cultural relationships are developed within an ecological context, recognizing the mutual and reciprocal influence of nature and culture.
Currently cultural landscapes are considered a living process that includes many different elements, both tangible and intangible, manifestations of popular culture, traditions, values and customs, that are a testimony of the way in which a society related to the environment in which it was inserted, ultimately witnessing human interactions with nature.