Seminar 13 Mar 2013 - Session 3 - C&D Tradeoffs at landscape scale_ by TSunderland


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There is a considerable gap between the science of conservation biology and the design and execution of biodiversity conservation projects in the field. Science is often failing to inform the practice of conservation, which remains largely experience-based. The main reason is the poor accessibility of evidence on the effectiveness of different interventions. Recent research by CIFOR and partners brings together a series of case studies, written by field practitioners, that provides the evidence-base for evaluating how effective conservation and poverty alleviation strategies can be better implemented. A series of systematic reviews uses experiences and data from fifteen integrated conservation and development projects conducted in the Lower Mekong region, specifically in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They provide wide-ranging overviews of the effectiveness of protected areas and how innovative tools and methods for monitoring and evaluation can be utilised for more effective outcomes. Results are in the form of management and policy recommendations, based on the quality of evidence and the cost-utility of the intervention. By bridging the gap between field practice and conservation, the analysis should lead to more effective integrated conservation and development interventions. This work book represents one of the first attempts to apply the evidence-based approach to conservation and development from a regional practitioner perspective. This 'evidence-based approach', modeled on the systematic reviews used in health sciences and now being applied to many policy arenas.

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Seminar 13 Mar 2013 - Session 3 - C&D Tradeoffs at landscape scale_ by TSunderland

  1. 1. Evidence-based conservation:lessons from the Lower Mekong Terry Sunderland Tree cover transitions and investment in a multicolored economy CIFOR, Bogor 13th March 2013
  2. 2. Background• Considerable gap between science of conservation biology and implementation of biodiversity projects• Science is often failing to inform conservation practice which remains more “experience-based”• Main constraint is poor reporting at ground level and thus accessibility of evidence on effectiveness of differing interventions is limited• Evidence-based approaches modelled on systematic reviews being applied in wide range of policy arenas, including conservation
  3. 3. A response• “Losing less and winning more: Building capacity to go beyond the trade-offs between conservation and development in the Lower Mekong” (funded by MacArthur Foundation, 2006-2010)• Project goal: “To enable organisations working on the ground in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam to achieve better biodiversity and human well-being outcomes of their projects”• Evolved into more comprehensive systematic review of landscape- scale integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) in Lower Mekong
  4. 4. Study region • The Lower Mekong – biodiversity hotspot of global significance • Major threats: habitat loss, infrastructure development, land grabbing, wildlife trade • Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (15 sites): • Forested landscapes (> 10,000 ha) • History of conservation intervention in previous 7-10 years THINKING beyond the canopy
  5. 5. Context• Difficulty justifying protectionist approaches alone• Inclusion of poverty alleviation strategies• Integrated Conservation and Development Project (ICDP) approach introduced in the 1980s• Integrated approaches focus on PA’s but in the context of the wider landscape (buffer zone)• Previous studies of these missed the “landscape” context• Very little critical analysis of ICDPs in the Lower Mekong• What strategies have contributed to the achievements of landscape scale integrated conservation and development projects in the countries of the Lower Mekong?
  6. 6. Research• Landscape trends and threats analysis• ICDP comparison (multi-variate analysis, qualitative assessment of outcomes) = analysis of organisational strategies• Governance and policy review• Land cover change• Potential for rewards mechanisms (PES, REDD+)• “Best practice” for integrating conservation and development
  7. 7. Threats analysis
  8. 8. ICDP Comparison: what do projects actually do?
  9. 9. Governance and policy review• Plethora of global, regional and national conventions, laws, regulations• On paper, extremely comprehensive• In practice, effectiveness limited by low capacity, low budgets and competing land claims
  10. 10. Land cover change• Surprisingly, majority of protected areas experiencing low levels of deforestation and tree cover loss• HOWEVER, significant degradation outside of PA’s
  11. 11. Potential for reward mechanisms (PES, REDD+)• PES is seen as a “win-win” for conservation and development• Strong legislative framework for PES (e.g. Vietnam)• Implementation is complex and beneficiaries often unclear• None of the sites surveyed have established PES schemes• Thus potential for REDD+ is uncertain• Much to learn from the past (e.g. ICDPs), especially conditionality
  12. 12. Project implementation “best practice”
  13. 13. The evidence base• Projects are very sensitive to perceived evaluation• Tendency for projects to over-report success• Very little or no actual monitoring of any sort• Trade-offs rather than win-win scenarios are more commonly experienced• The term “ICDP” has been applied far less; landscapes are now point of reference• Much to learn from ICDP-type initiatives for PES/REDD+, e.g. community engagement, policy processes• Shared learning very important to avoid repeated failures THINKING beyond the canopy
  14. 14. Recommendations• Projects with clear and plausible goals and objectives from the start have better outcomes• Stakeholder participation and partnerships are critical• Projects must be implemented with a full understanding of policy processes• Provide alternative livelihoods and understand linkages• Greater integration at landscape scale• Longer-term time scales = better outcomes THINKING beyond the canopy
  15. 15. yer and Hoang Minh-Ha Read more…and .ains Sunderland, T., J. Sayer & H.for Minh-Ha. 2013. Evidence-based y conservation: lessons from the Lower Mekong. Earthscan from Routledge, Londonve d.ered tility of the intervention. By bridging the gape effective integrated conservation and THINKING beyond the canopys to apply the evidence-based approach to