Newsletter #5 | August 2023

Read the fifth edition of our newsletter

Welcome to our Latin American and Caribbean special edition newsletter, where we delve into the transformative power of Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) as showcased in our programme’s 7 projects across 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Clockwise from top right: Les Pitons and town of Soufriere in Saint Lucia, OECS. Aerial view of Bahía Negra town, on the banks of the Paraguay River. Organic panela production and donkeys in Ecuador. Cattle rancher in San Ignacio de Velasco in Bolivia. Cattle ranch  in Honduras. Signage in Ecuador. Photos by Peter Cronkleton and Natalia Cisneros/CIFOR-ICRAF. 

View or download more photos and videos from our image archive here.



The Central Component’s Natalia Cisneros meets with Mi Biósfera team members during our learning visit to Honduras. Photo by Peter Cronkleton/CIFOR-ICRAF 

We, the Central Component, see six critical elements in the ILM process. To see them in action, you need look no further than our programme’s remarkable Latin American and Caribbean projects, which have embraced integrated landscape approaches to revolutionize land use practices, conserve biodiversity and foster sustainable development.


Can ILM contribute to sustainable cattle ranching?  And vice versa?

Chiquitanía landscape of Bolivia. Image by GIZ/Paisajes Resilientes 

In recent years, strategies to promote sustainable alternatives to conventional ranching have emerged, aiming to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, reduce deforestation, conserve vulnerable ecosystems, and mitigate impacts from cattle production. Achieving these objectives often involves endorsing enhanced practices, implementing robust monitoring systems, and fostering collaboration among various stakeholders. ILM could enable pathways to achieving impact at scale.

Landscape Learning Session #2: Criteria, Indicators & Tools of ILM

Watch the webinar

Despite its application over the past few decades in various contexts to harmonize conflicting land management goals such as development and conservation, there remains no systematic framework to guide the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of ILM projects. 

We set out to fix that, conducting a global review to propose such a framework. This learning event presented the results of this review and delved into two examples of monitoring tools applied in ILM projects. 


MSF fatigue? How to design for context, inclusion and effectiveness

A tale of two Brazilian states leads us to really useful tips to design meaningful, inclusive platforms for transformation. In the 1990s and early 2000s – in response to calls for participatory land-use planning and concerns about deforestation – Brazil’s state governments began to carry out Ecological-Economic Zoning processes to  collectively lay out land-use plans that were inclusive and sustainable. These processes were mandated to be developed and implemented using multi-stakeholder participatory mechanisms. 

Two states ended up with very different results. Explore the lessons to be learned through this curation of research and interviews, and download at-a-glance factsheets with tips on how to how to manage power, politics and participation in your own multi-stakeholder processes. 

We often take too much for granted in MSPs. Some considerations are simple – like changing where the platform is held, or adjusting seating arrangements – and some require deeper strategic thinking. Our research has unearthed a host of practical steps that convenors can take to help empower marginalised stakeholders and create lasting impact. 

 Anne Larson on CIFOR-ICRAF’s info sheets and how-to guides

¿Cómo vamos? A tool to support more equitable co-management of Peru’s protected areas

This brief presents the findings of an assessment conducted in Peru to understand and verify the adoption, outcomes, and potential impacts of the participatory reflective monitoring tool called "¿Cómo vamos?" (How are we doing?) in multistakeholder forums (MSFs). MSFs are recognized as a means of fostering transformative change to address the environmental and social impacts of the climate crisis. In Peru, the Protected Areas Service (SERNANP) mandates the establishment of MSFs or management committees (MCs) involving various stakeholders in the management of protected areas. The tool was co-developed and tested by CIFOR and SERNANP with eight MCs. The positive reception and interest in the tool led SERNANP to publish it as an official document and require its annual implementation by the MCs of its 75 protected areas. This assessment provides insights into the adoption, outcomes, and potential impacts of the tool in Peru.

Seeking synergies to improve landscape management in southern Zambia

Short blog by our CIFOR colleagues on COLANDS and a 9 step approach for Theory of Change and common visioning - in Zambia.

Designing for engagement: Insights for more equitable and resilient multi-stakeholder forums

A literature review that looks closely at the importance of engagement, allowing all actors to build trust and respect to ensure an approach that can lead to equitable outcomes.
Published by CIFOR

Using Scenario Building and Participatory Mapping to Negotiate Conservation-Development Trade-Offs in Northern Ghana

In multifunctional landscapes, expanding economic activities jeopardise the integrity of biodiverse ecosystems, generating conservation-development trade-offs that require multi-stakeholder dialogue and tools to negotiate conflicting objectives. Despite the rich literature on participatory mapping and other tools to reveal different stakeholder perspectives, there is limited evidence on the application of such tools in landscape-scale negotiations.
Published in MDPI

A World of Landscapes @ GLF Climate

With most of our programme’s 22 projects well into implementation, it was time to start sharing key insights and lessons. Where better to do so than at GLF Climate alongside COP27?
View our full hour-long session recording on YouTube

A COP27 side event, GLF Climate was a venue most appropriate to LFF’s ambitions – in particular, its interest in delivering solutions and innovative practices to address the triple planetary crises. During this session, the LFF Central Component brought together relevant stakeholders and some of LFF’s projects from the Global South to highlight innovative approaches and methods to tackle climate mitigation and adaption using the Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) approach, as well as introducing the overall programme vision.

High-level speakers from the EU and ILM global experts set the stage for the programme, with particularly important messages revealing the importance the EU places on ILM as one of a basket of solutions to addressing climate change.

“It’s really our firm belief that integrated landscapes approaches can make a really meaningful contribution to alleviating the interconnected challenges of human well-being, climate change biodiversity loss and land degradation.”

– Chantal Marijnssen, Head of Unit for Environment, Sustainable Natural Resources in DG INTPA at the European Commission


5 minWelcome & quick polls  Moderator – Dominique le Roux, CC Communications CoordinatorIn person 
5 minWelcoming high-level remarks Chantal Marijnissen, Head of Unit for Environment, Sustainable Natural Resources in DG INTPA, European Commission Virtual
10 minKeynote:Integrated Landscape Management – an essential tool to address today’s contemporary climate and biodiversity objectives. Characteristics + focus on climateKeynote Dr. Cora van Oosten, GLF and Wageningen Centre for Development InnovationVirtual
10 minLandscapes for our Future Initiative – Integration and balancing stakeholder objectives.CIFOR-ICRAF LFF Programme Coordinator- Dr. Kim Geheb In person
10 minA world of landscapes- highlighting projects of the LFF Initiative, with focus on climate.  1.     Abeena Dufie Woode PM – EU LEAN, LLF Ghana
2.     Miriam Seeman, Coordinator, Water as a connector for resilient landscapes – LFF Bolivia
In person  Virtual (ESP)
18 minPanel Discussion – On Landscapes and people for ClimateDominique le Roux, Cora Van Oosten, Kim Geheb, Abeena Woode, Miriam Seeman, Etienne CoyetteIn person and Virtual
2 minClosing remarks Kim Geheb 

Old wine in new bottles?

Are Integrated Landscape Approaches just another development fad? Or are they a feasible solution to landscape scale development and climate challenges?

We celebrated Science Week 2022 at CIFOR – Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry, joined by 500+ scientists on campus between Nairobi, Kenya and Bogor, Indonesia in June. It was the first opportunity to meet (almost) all our Landscapes For Our Future team to discuss the future of Integrated Landscape Approaches and ask “Are they old wine in new bottles? Another development fad? Or are they a feasible solution to landscape scale development and climate challenges?”

View the full Future of ILM session on YouTube. Or see below for links to the individual keynotes, lightning talks and provocation-lead discussions.

The discussion that ensued was both fascinating and challenging.

I do love old wine, and I also like fancy new bottles. An approach that has been in existence for a few hundred years and has proven to be good, but  needs to be revamped and contextualized. And I think ,as compared to the past, local conditions have improved a lot. In most countries there is decentralization, there is a great empowerment, there are educated landscape actors… So the more that a local development proceeds, the more likely that landscape approaches were valid, are valid, and will be valid even more

Dr Cora van Oosten, project leader at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation

The reason why it’s bottled in a different way is because nobody learns from it. And it’s “faddish” because, again, you know it has been there but nobody was really very serious about it

– Dr Delia Catacutan, Landscapes For Our Future focal point for Timor Leste, Cambodia and Vietnam

The fact is that landscape approaches will be a fad. There’s no doubt, because all of these concepts ultimately end that way. But I think the important thing is to acknowledge that they help move us towards integration, which  is necessary because we know from the problems we’re still facing from sectoral approaches that integration is absolutely necessary. It’s important that we retain the lessons learned from integrated landscape approaches for whatever the next fad might be.

– Dr James Reed, Consultant Researcher, CIFOR

A few reflections and takeaways and reflections from over a decade of research and implementation of ILAs are worth noting:

🗣 Integrated Landscape Approaches propose innovative aspects of social inclusion, co-creation and adaptive landscapes governance which make them unique. However, these are often in name only, and too often implemented without a genuine multi-stakeholder process. 

There are new and innovative aspects to the landscape approaches compared to the integrated rural development (IRD) and national resource management (NRM). Issues of social inclusion, participation, co-creation, multi stakeholder planning, participatory adaptive governance… These are concepts which have emerged and been integrated into the landscape approach, which I do think is distinct.

The practice, however is really rebranding the old. I think a lot of development stakeholders are opportunistic because, by branding it as landscape approaches, they can get funding but often lack the understanding and capacity to implement them effectively. So, a lot of the approaches are not multi-sectoral in nature or do not really involve genuine multi-stakeholder planning processes, and have completely obscure sequencing. So, I think there’s a lot wrong with how many such projects are being implemented.

Dr George Schoneveld, Landscapes For Our Future senior management and coordination support, focal point for Ghana

💵 The donor community must recognise they are investing in setting up long term processes and should have modest expectations of outcomes given the complexity during a normal funding windows. 

If there is a group of stakeholders that want to implement the planned approach and we’re talking about a typical funding window of say three years, we need to manage expectations in relation to  typical donor metrics. The focus here is very much on the core building blocks. And the way we’re seeing it is a landscape project that tries to establish itself and really stay true to the approach should spend a lot of time establishing and socializing a common vision for the landscape – a common vision that is inclusive of beneficiaries.

A project like that should try to establish a multi-stakeholder planning and implementation structure, which is both equitable and provides equal voice.

They should aim to co-develop a theory of change and implementation strategy to achieve that common vision while at the same time also leveraging local knowledge, the resources and capabilities available to the stakeholders in the landscape and above all else not close their eyes to complementary initiatives, of which there are usually many.

In order for those strategies to be viable and actionable, they really need to be informed by evidence. Too often those multi-stakeholder planning processes are informed by subjectivities, personal biases and also vested interests.

Donors must realize that that a process like this is time consuming and complicated. It demands years of what many in the discipline call ‘muddling through.

Dr George Schoneveld, Landscapes For Our Future senior management and coordination support

🍃 We need to make a stronger business case for landscapes approaches to be viable and productive, and to ensure they are not merely contributing to creating ‘green poverty’. 

Let’s not dream that donor funding alone is going to make landscapes successful. If we cannot bring business cases and make landscapes viable from a business perspective, we will encourage situations where landscapes are largely successful from the conservation perspective, with people that are poor – what I call green poverty. If we don’t have the business case, forget it.

– Dr Peter Minang, Principal Scientist and Director for Africa, CIFOR-ICRAF

📝 Attempts to establish and support multi-stakeholder platforms need to be institutionalised into existing, government process, so they last the test of time, and do not dry up as soon as donor funding does.

Solutions don’t lie with the communities alone. I think there’s both a lack of capacity and a lack of rights. These communities are increasingly confronted with external forces and globalization and large private sector organizations. I think they do need support or some kind of structure in place that enables the integrated landscape approach to continue.

What our experience has shown in Zambia is that they’ve had a whole history of projects coming and going and there’s a huge fanfare in the project rise and then everyone just disappears and there’s nothing said at the end of the project. I think it’s naive to think that communities can just manage these challenges themselves.

– Dr James Reed, Consultant Researcher, CIFOR

There is a lot more capacity on the ground for some of these development concepts that have been around for a very long time. We are seeing a lot more peers to work with in the field. But why is it still so complicated and difficult to implement and it still looks the same?

It’s because the structures and institutions haven’t changed. Bureaucracies are still institutionalized into silos, and multi-stakeholder approaches have to work across the silos. There are no budgets to do that without external donor funding so that’s why it always does look like the outside coming in to grease the wheels and make things move. Because the structures still don’t allow for it.

– Dr Emily Gallagher, Rural Development Specialist, CIFOR-ICRAF

🧩 Successful ILM is dependent on strong stakeholder coordination and management, and a combination of skill sets including negotiation, convening and facilitation.

What we were really thinking of here is that in some respects there has to be a shift in focus away from more contemporary skill sets to some of these kinds when it comes to effective ILM.

– Dr Kim Geheb, Central Component coordinator, Landscapes For our Future

In summary, there was much discussion and debate on the role of external stakeholders versus the role of the community, but a clear consensus that Integrated Landscape Approaches offer tremendous potential to maximize benefits and address trade-offs at a time when communities are increasingly confronted with external forces and globalisation. More centurion approaches have lead to fragmented policies and unsuccessful outcomes, thus it is critical we push for further integration. 

Watch the presentations yourself and come to your own conclusions

Lightning Talks

What do you think?