There is increasing concern that the ecosystem services approach puts emphasis on optimizing a small number of services, which may jeopardize environmental sustainability. One potential solution is to bring cultural ecosystem services more strongly into the foreground. We synthesize recent empirical evidence and assess what consideration of cultural ecosystem services adds to landscape management and planning. In general, cultural ecosystem services incentivize the multifunctionality of landscapes. However, depending on context, cultural ecosystem services can either encourage the maintenance of valuable landscapes or act as barriers to necessary innovation and transformation. Hence, cultural ecosystems services are not uncontested, as seen through the three analytical lenses of landowner behavior, cultural practices of communities, and landscape planning.