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Integrated landscape approaches to manage societal and environmental issues in the tropics


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Presented by Terry Sunderland, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Merida, Yucatán, Mexico, on July 12, 2017.

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Integrated landscape approaches to manage societal and environmental issues in the tropics

  2. 2. INTEGRATED LANDSCAPE APPROACHES: WHY? • A response to the failings of sectorial land management approaches • The latest in a series of attempts to concurrently address conservation, development and restoration challenges • A refinement of previous approaches • A method to integrate stakeholders at multiple scales • A framework to integrate policy and practice • A land management strategy to fulfill social, economic, ecological & cultural objectives, including forest restoration • A tool to assess performance and manage trade-offs within the landscape • All of the above?
  3. 3. THE ORIGIN OF THE “LANDSCAPE APPROACH” 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010 - present 1980s: Integrated Rural Development 1998: Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) 1985 onwards: Integrated Conservation & Development projects (ICDPs) Contributing Sciences: Ecosystem Management Landscape Ecology Island biogeography Conservation rooted frameworks e.g. “Ecosystem Approach” 1992: “Landscape Approach” first documented (Barrett 1992) Last decade: (Integrated) Landscape Approach frameworks
  4. 4. MAPPING THE RESEARCH ON LANDSCAPE APPROACH 26,303 scoping results in WoK using 35 revised search terms 13,290 Publications captured with refined search terms All TITLES screened 271,974 results from initial 56 main search terms trialed in WoK 1,171 Relevant studies All ABSTRACTS screened 382 Relevant studies All FULL TEXTS screened 82 Final studies of relevance
  5. 5. EMBRACING THE LANDSCAPE APPROACH – INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE ACROSS SECTORS “Despite some barriers to implementation, a landscape approach has considerable potential to meet social and environmental objectives at local scales while aiding national commitments to addressing ongoing global challenges.” Reed et al. 2016, Global Change Biology.
  7. 7. OPERATIONALISING THE LANDSCAPE APPROACH: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE THEORY & POLICY PRACTICE: Integration & evaluation Local stakeholders: NGO’s; CSO’s Local communities Private sector Local government Drivers: Researchers Policy makers Central government
  8. 8. “We conclude that landscape approaches are a welcome departure from previous unsuccessful attempts at reconciling conservation and development in the tropics but, despite claims to the contrary, remain nascent in both their conceptualization and implementation”. (Reed et al. 2017)
  9. 9. FORESTS SUSTAINING AGRICULTURE How does landscape configuration maximise the provision of these goods and services for both forestry and food production??? Water regulation Climate regulation Pollination Pest control
  10. 10. “When incorporating forests and trees within an appropriate and contextualized natural resource management strategy, there is potential to maintain, and in some cases, enhance agricultural yields comparable to solely monoculture systems”. Reed et al. 2017
  11. 11. KEY FINDINGS Optimizing adoption of landscape approaches: • Evaluating progress within a landscape is fundamental to determining where gains or losses are being made • Hybrid, multi-level and cross-sectorial governance structures that integrate internal traditional knowledge and external institutional and financial support are increasingly preferable • Must acknowledge the need for contextualisation and not subscribe to panaceas • Inclusive, participatory stakeholder negotiation can help align local socio-cultural and global environmental concerns • Should recognise dynamic processes and perverse outcomes
  12. 12. CURRENT BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION • The on-going development of theory and conceptualization may be stimulating time lags • The proliferation of terms associated with landscape approaches may be impeding policy and practice progress • Operating silos persist at all levels and scales • Engaging multiple stakeholders is all too often seen as a box-ticking exercise to satisfy project requirements • Monitoring remains the least well developed area of landscape approach application
  13. 13. CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS • Landscape approaches remain contentious and under-theorized – “old wine, new bottles?” • There is good evidence of landscape approaches being implemented within the tropics but weak evidence of effectiveness • Multi-level engagement seems fundamental to success but remains elusive • Attempts to implement must be contextualized and willing to embrace complexity • Metrics need to continue to develop • Move beyond “projects” to “process”
  14. 14. THINKING beyond the canopy @TCHSunderland