Landscape approaches, from concept to action: insights from 191 landscape initiatives in Africa and Latin America
Landscape approaches, from concept to action: insights from 191 landscape initiatives in Africa and Latin Americawca2014-1671 Jeffrey Milder 1 2,*Abigail K. Hart 1 3Natalia Estrada-Carmona 4 5Fabrice DeClerck 6Celia Harvey 7Philip Dobie 8Joshua Minai 8Christi Zaleski 3 1Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, 2Evaluation & Research, Rainforest Alliance, New York, 3EcoAgriculture Partners, Washington, DC, 4Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, United States, 5Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 6Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem Services Program, Bioversity International, Montpellier, France, 7Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans, Conservation International, Arlington, VA, United States, 8World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
Landscape approaches are becoming increasingly common as scientists, policymakers, and local stakeholders recognize the need to increase the multi-functionality of rural landscapes for food production, livelihood improvement, and ecosystem conservation. To date, however, there has been no systematic assessment of the practice or outcomes of landscape approaches. To fill this gap, we surveyed participants and managers in integrated landscape initiatives throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Africa to assess these initiatives’ contexts, objectives, participants, activities and investments, outcomes, and major successes and shortcomings. Results from 104 initiatives in 21 countries in LAC and 87 initiatives in 33 countries in Africa indicate that landscape approaches are being applied to address a variety of challenges in diverse contexts, and that use of this paradigm is expanding. On both continents, initiatives reported investing across four key “domains” of landscape multi-functionality: agricultural production, ecosystem conservation, human livelihoods, and institutional planning and coordination. Initiatives reported positive outcomes across all four domains, but particularly with respect to institutional planning and coordination. These results suggest that landscape approaches have aided in building local foundations for adaptive management and resource governance, including platforms for stakeholder coordination and negotiation, improved inter-sectoral alignment, and empowerment of women and local communities. In Africa, landscape approaches were most commonly rooted in conservation objectives, underwritten by external funding, and often engaged local governments in a superficial way. In Latin America, we found a wider range of entry points and objectives, more robust local participation, and greater evidence of supportive policies and platforms. Key challenges identified by survey respondents—including the long time horizon required to achieve results at scale, unsupportive policy frameworks, and difficulty in engaging the private sector and other important stakeholders—offer insights for improving the future effectiveness of landscape approaches.