European land use and land management has entered a critical decision space, a limited time window to plan for—and move towards—a sustainable use of the land (Rounsevell et al. 2012; EEA 2017). This complex challenge to better manage Europe’s natural capital will require improved governance (Adger et al. 2003; European Commission 2011), supportive policy and planning (Hodge 2016; Borrass et al. 2017), innovative technologies and business models (Rantala et al. 2018) and societal support for the required changes (Latour 2017). It is therefore imperative to explore alternative visions—i.e. positive descriptions of a desired future (Rounsevell and Metzger 2010; Van Zeijts et al. 2017)—to understand what this sustainable land use future could look like and to evaluate the pathways that can lead us to these visions (Rounsevell et al. 2012).