1. Biodiversity conservation and agricultural production have been largely framed as separate goals for landscapes in the discourse on land use. Although there is an increasing tendency to move away from this dichotomy in theory, the tendency is perpetuated by the spatially explicit approaches used in research and management practice.
2. Transition zones (TZ) have previously been defined as areas where two adjacent fields or patches interact, and so they occur abundantly throughout agricultural landscapes. Biodiversity patterns in TZ have been extensively studied, but their relationship to yield patterns and social–ecological dimensions has been largely neglected.
3. Focusing on European, temperate agricultural landscapes, we outline three areas of research and management that together demonstrate how TZ might be used to facilitate an integrated landscape approach: (i) plant and animal species’ use and response to boundaries and the resulting effects on yield, for a deeper understanding of how landscape structure shapes quantity and quality of TZ; (ii) local knowledge on field or patch-level management and its interactions with biodiversity and yield in TZ, and (iii) conflict prevention and collaborative management across land-use boundaries.