This paper is a communication from the corresponding symposium at the Global Land Project Open Science Meeting, Berlin, March 2014. We explored the assumption that the ecosystem services-(ES) concept has the potential to support communication and collaboration between actors in land use planning. If true, the concept could facilitate collaborative planning processes. We analyse how to evolve a planning context in which governance networks at the local landscape level gain importance in decision making, while the central government delegates power. From case studies presented during the symposium we learned that the ES-concept has been explored for application in local land use planning around the world. However, whether ES are recognized as a useful planning concept depends on individual actor preferences and cultural and contextual factors, such as the actual nature-human relationship and gender differences. Also, successful application requires the support of novel assessment, design and visualization tools, which are designed to foster collaboration and social learning. The potential of the concept to contribute to collaborative relationships needs further investigation.