Searching for potential improvements of governance strategies and concepts to solve complex land use problems is an ongoing activity in science and practice. Currently problems in land management are seen in an up to now missing integrative approach, limited reflections of complexity, fragmented problem analysis, incomprehensive strategy development, and development of solutions focussed only on specific institutional arrangements. As one part of a new research programme ‘Sustainable Land Management’ in Germany funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) innovative theoretical, methodological and conceptual approaches including appropriate institutional settings will be developed, used and valuated. The Authors are responsible for one of the two scientific coordination projects of the new research programme with a specific focus on successful tools for sustainable land management in Europe in combination with inter- and transdisciplinary approaches. The full paper and presentation will answer the question what are potential key elements, processes and institutional settings in governance of land use towards sustainability. First different definitions and meanings of “sustainable land management” in an European context are explained. Second the variety of contents, processes, strategies, instruments and concepts will be analysed. Third, based on a first valuation, a set of key elements will be presented and discussed. The discussion has to include new strategic principles (adaptation), connection and integration of different topics (land use management, climate adaptation and sectoral planning) as well as process based innovations (integrated land use and supply chain management). In consequence new lines for discussing environmental governance will be presented.