Key ILM elements at work in our Latin American and Caribbean projects

We keep saying it; they’re showing it.
Chiquitanía landscape of Bolivia. Image by GIZ/Paisajes Resilientes
Chiquitanía landscape of Bolivia.

Our experience suggests that Integrated Landscape Management is a process for managing the competing demands on land through the implementation of adaptive and integrated management systems.

When combined with well-planned and executed technical interventions, ILM enables landscape multi-functionality to be managed, and its benefits to society and the environment to be captured and distributed.

Landscapes For Our Future Central Component

We see six critical elements in the Integrated Landscape Management (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 the ILM approach to revolutionize land use practices, conserve biodiversity and foster sustainable development.

It is important that we understand what it is that we are integrating and managing when it comes to ILM. From our perspective, it is the people who make claims on the landscape that matter. Hence why the first two of our ILM ingredients focus on stakeholders. We see these organized behind a common vision, which they seek to reach through adaptive management and the right mix of tools. Finally, because the process works well, it is institutionalized

Kim Geheb, Coordinator, Central Component of the LFF

🇧🇴 Bolivia: Paisajes Resilientes

About the project

The department of Santa Cruz is part of the Amazon basin and comprises a large part of Bolivia’s lowland forests. It is home to numerous Indigenous communities and smallholder farmers who are highly vulnerable to poverty and climate-related risks. The department contains 78% of Bolivia’s biodiversity and supports 70% of the country’s agricultural production.

The Paisajes Resilientes en la Chiquitanía (Resilient Landscapes in the Chiquitanía) project, managed and implemented by GIZ, has made promising strides towards ILM to address the impacts of climate change in the the world’s largest preserved tropical dry forest and on the livelihoods of populations in nearby watersheds. It focuses on promoting water and productive security while strengthening governance structures and sustainable socio-economic activities.

Key ILM elements

Stakeholder identification

A key strength of the Paisajes Resilientes project lies in its robust stakeholder mapping exercises. The project utilizes the comprehensive Capacity Works tool to identify and engage relevant stakeholders in the landscape. This tool enables the project to assess the capacities and roles of different stakeholders, ensuring their active involvement and meaningful participation in decision-making processes. By mapping stakeholders and understanding their capacities, the project fosters stronger collaboration, builds local ownership, and enhances the overall effectiveness and sustainability of its interventions.

Multi-stakeholder Fora (MSF)

There is no MSF covering the entire landscape or functioning at the scale of the two watersheds making up the project area. However, there are several platforms that provide incipient foundations for MSFs within subunits in the project area. In each sub-watershed, the Paisajes Resilientes team has formed or reactivated Management Committees (Comités de Gestión), which are platforms composed primarily of representatives from communities participating in their pilot activities but also draw in other government actors, like municipal agencies, the municipal council, and the sub-gobernación (provincial government). Each management committee functions autonomously without coordination with the others.

In the Alto Paraguá sub-watershed, the Paisajes Resilientes team supported the creation of the MSF, strengthening the Asamblea Distrito (8th District Assembly), who leads it. In Bajo Paraguá and Tarvo, Paisajes Resilientes supported the strengthening of existing MSFs; and in the Alta sub-watershed, Paisajes Resilientes was behind the MSF’s reactivation. Community representatives are also involved the Asamblea Districto 8, which brings together cabildo representatives from communities in the sub-watershed of Alto-Paraguá.

The management committees have statutes and regulations designed specifically for each sub-watershed. In most cases, the Management Committees meet monthly, and once in a while the RLC team participates, to present advances related to their project.

These MSFs may pave the way for inclusive decision-making and potential collaboration, amplifying the project’s impact.

Common Vision

The Paisajes Resilientes team has organized a series of workshops to build collaboration among stakeholders around a common agenda. In signing a collaborative agreement with the Santa Cruz Departmental government, the project facilitated an inter-sectorial meeting with representatives of different agencies in the departmental government to dialogue needs and urgent issues to tackle. This was followed by a workshop with private sector and finance sector stakeholders.

Iterative and Adaptive Management

The Paisajes Resilientes project exhibits a strong commitment to reflection, learning and adaptation throughout its implementation. Recognizing the complexity and uncertainties associated with managing natural resources and ecosystems, the project continually assesses the effectiveness of its strategies, adapts to changing circumstances and integrates new knowledge and community perspectives into decision-making processes. This commitment is evident in the selection and design of pilot projects, which have been adjusted based on realities encountered in the field. For example, the exchanges of indigenous female leaders, initially planned as a single event, were expanded to multiple meetings due to their positive response. Similarly, the inclusion of apiculture and environmental education in the communication program, which were not initially defined in the project’s design, reflects the project’s adaptive planning and responsiveness.

Furthermore, the Paisajes Resilientes project places a strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and learning. It facilitates the exchange of experiences, best practices, and lessons learned among different stakeholders, including local communities, government agencies, and partner organizations. This collaborative learning approach enables the project to leverage collective knowledge, build on successful approaches, and adapt strategies based on shared experiences. By fostering a culture of learning and continuous improvement, the project strengthens its capacity to address complex challenges, promote innovation, and achieve long-term sustainability in the landscapes it works in.


The project also excels in cultivating partnerships with the local and regional governmental actors responsible for governing the landscape. The Santa Cruz Departmental Assembly, a legislative body approving departmental policies, has closely aligned itself with the project’s objectives, providing a solid foundation for transformative change. Similarly, the Municipal Government of San Ignacio de Velasco, with its mandate to provide essential services and public works, has emerged as a robust ally, fostering positive local dynamics. These partnerships enhance the project’s potential for impact, engaging stakeholders who possess the power to effect change in the landscape.

Learn more from this project

A notable strength of the Paisajes Resilientes project is its adoption of a nested approach to landscape management. Recognizing the complexity and scale of the landscapes involved, the project divides the areas into sub-watershed units. This approach allows for a more focused and targeted implementation of interventions within specific ecological units. By addressing the unique characteristics and challenges of each sub-watershed, the project team tailors its strategies and actions to the specific needs and opportunities of different areas, thereby enhancing the effectiveness and impact of its interventions. Furthermore, the establishment of the sub-watersheds’ Management Committees, serving as a multi-stakeholder platform for diverse stakeholders to convene — even those who seldom interact in the landscape — paves the way for inclusive decision-making and potential collaboration, amplifying the project’s impact.

🇧🇷 🇵🇾 Brazil/Paraguay: CERES

Aerial view of Bahía Negra town, on the banks of the Paraguay River. Photo by WWF Paraguay.

About this project

One standout project in Latin America and the Caribbean is the Cerrado Resiliente (Resilient Cerrado) project, CERES. Led by WWF Brazil, WWF Paraguay, and the Institute for the Preservation and Promotion of Indigenous Peoples, CERES is a holistic project that focuses on the intricate interconnections between agriculture, natural resources, and rural livelihoods. 

The Cerrado Biome is the world’s most biodiverse savanna, covering more than 2 million km2 in Brazil and Paraguay. It is home to 83 different Indigenous groups and communities, who have received varying degrees of recognition and land tenure. The Cerrado provides crucial ecosystem services at national, regional and global scales, supplying 70% of the country’s agricultural output and 44% of its exports. 

Key ILM elements

Multi-stakeholder Fora (MSF)

By bringing together diverse stakeholders, including farmers, researchers, and policymakers, CERES creates a collaborative platform for knowledge exchange and action. 

CERES also recognizes the significance of promoting sustainable value chains in responsible land use. Through its collaboration with the Tamo de Olho initiative, CERES further enhances its impact. Tamo de Olho (meaning “We’re Watching” in Portuguese) is a community-driven monitoring program that engages local communities in the collection and analysis of data related to land use, deforestation, and conservation. By involving communities as active participants in monitoring efforts, CERES fosters a sense of ownership and strengthens local knowledge systems.

WWF Paraguay, responsible for implementing the CERES project in the Alto Paraguay landscape, has successfully engaged small, medium, and large ranches through a multistakeholder forum that highlights shared interests among stakeholders. WWF Paraguay’s efforts have resulted in significant collaboration among diverse stakeholder groups, focusing on the Bahía Negra district’s land use management plan, known as POUT (Plan De Ordenamiento Urbano y Territorial).

The POUT roundtable was established as an MSF to support the POUT process. It facilitated dialogues and feedback from a wide variety of government, private sector, producer associations, indigenous communities and NGOs in the landscape. Their participation was driven by the desire to have their interests represented in the final land use planning process. Valentina Bedoya, WWF Paraguay’s Sustainable Landscapes Officer, emphasizes that the POUT Roundtable, initially established with a specific goal, has evolved into an entry point for multi-stakeholder dialogue that was previously lacking in the landscape.

The POUT Roundtable has proven to be a successful mechanism for participatory decision-making and consensus-building regarding land use in the territory, a sensitive topic because it touches on people’s livelihoods. However, an important lesson learned, says Patricia Roche, WWF Paraguay’s Project Specialist, is the need to empower governmental authorities to lead these spaces effectively. As highlighted by Roche, “It is crucial for these platforms to be led and convened by local or national authorities, as certain interest groups may view international NGOs as outsiders with conservation biases that could influence the outcomes.”


CERES has successfully established partnerships with government agencies, local organizations, and indigenous communities, fostering a collaborative approach to integrated landscape management. This institutionalization ensures that the project’s strategies and initiatives are embedded within existing frameworks, policies, and governance structures, leading to long-term sustainability and impact. 

Learn more from this project

CERES stands out for its ability to support decision-making, providing stakeholders with valuable tools and knowledge for informed choices. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like remote sensing and data analytics, CERES guides informed decision-making and optimizes resource use. For instance, the project employs satellite imagery to assess land cover changes and identify priority areas for conservation and restoration efforts. CERES also emphasizes precision agriculture, enabling farmers to adopt sustainable practices tailored to their specific landscapes and challenges.

Through its comprehensive research and monitoring efforts, CERES generates reliable data on land use, biodiversity, and ecosystem services, enabling evidence-based decision-making. This approach helps stakeholders understand the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of different land management practices and guides the development of sustainable strategies. Moreover, CERES facilitates capacity building and knowledge exchange among stakeholders, empowering them to actively participate in decision-making processes and implement effective solutions for ILM.

CERES fosters transparency and accountability along value chains, encouraging responsible production and consumption. By promoting sustainable sourcing and traceability, CERES ensures that products reaching the market are produced in a manner that safeguards ecosystems, respects workers’ rights, and contributes to local communities’ well-being. The Central do Cerrado Cooperative, a key partner supported by the CERES project, represents a collective enterprise combining multiple stakeholders to develop and maintain a productive value chain with standout products that include wild, endemic Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) such as the prized barú nut which is gathered from the wild. This initiative has gained traction among consumers, who increasingly prioritize ethical and environmentally-friendly products. By promoting sustainable value chains, CERES contributes to the economic viability of integrated landscapes management, creating market incentives for sustainable practices and supporting the livelihoods of local communities.

Read more about the CERES project’s sustainable cattle ranching.

🇨🇴 Colombia: Paisajes Sostenibles

About this project

Palafittic community in the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, Colombia

Paisajes Sostenibles (Sustainable Landscapes) is a project in Colombia coordinated by FAO. It aims to promote sustainable land and resource management practices, biodiversity conservation and improving local community livelihoods. By integrating social, economic and environmental dimensions, the project seeks to achieve a balance between conservation and development in two landscapes: the Colombian Caribbean and the Central Andes. 

The project is part of the larger private-public initiative called Herencia Colombia (HeCo), led by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development and National Natural Parks. Other project partners include WWF Colombia, the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research José Benito Vives de Andréis (INVEMAR), and the Instituto Alexander von Humboldt.

Key ILM elements

Common vision

Focusing on the Caribbean landscape, INVEMAR plays a pivotal role in addressing trust-building and supporting alternative sustainable livelihoods in vulnerable communities. For instance, INVEMAR collaborates with the palafitic communities in the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta area. Heavily reliant on fishing, these communities have been significantly affected by climate change and the armed conflict. Through capacity-building programs, infrastructure development, and marketing support, INVEMAR empowers communities such as these to establish sustainable ecotourism enterprises. These initiatives not only provide alternative sources of income but also contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and cultural heritage. INVEMAR’s holistic approach, integrating trust-building efforts with sustainable livelihood opportunities, ensures the well-being and resilience of these communities.

Technical solutions and tools

One of the standout features of the Paisajes Sostenibles project is the financial sustainability platform for entrepreneurs, led by WWF Colombia. This dynamic platform empowers local entrepreneurs involved in sustainable activities within the project landscapes. By providing access to funding, technical assistance and business mentorship, WWF Colombia supports the growth of environmentally responsible businesses. Through this platform, entrepreneurs can pursue resilient livelihoods while contributing to the conservation of natural resources, creating a win-win scenario for both communities and the environment.

🇪🇨 Ecuador: Paisajes Andinos

About the project

The Paisajes Andinos project aims to use an integrated landscapes approach to promote sustainable livelihoods and protect Andean ecosystem services. Implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle, it operates in multiple parishes across four of Ecuador’s provinces in collaboration with local associations and communities to implement a range of activities that support organic agriculture, value chain development, capacity building, and market access for agricultural products.

Key ILM elements

Multi-stakeholder fora (MSF)

The Paisajes Andinos project actively participates in the early stages of the Minga de Montaña, a community of practice that brings together various landscape management projects and stakeholders, serving as an MSF for coordination, knowledge sharing and collaboration among different initiatives in the region. By engaging in this community of practice, the project avoids overlap, learns from others’ experiences and contributes to the development of effective landscape management approaches. This collaborative network strengthens the overall impact and outcomes of landscape management projects, promoting integrated and holistic approaches to sustainable development. 

Technical solutions and tools

The Paisajes Andinos project demonstrates exceptional strengths in monitoring and evaluation, leveraging a range of advanced tools and technologies to collect, analyse and interpret data. One notable aspect is the project’s utilization of System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing, and Analysis for Land Monitoring (SEPAL) tools for satellite data analysis. By harnessing the power of satellite imagery, the project can monitor land cover changes, vegetation health, and other environmental indicators. SEPAL tools enable the project to access near real-time data, facilitating the identification of areas that require intervention and providing valuable insights for adaptive management. 

Additionally, the project employs KoboToolbox, an open-source data collection platform, to gather field-level information efficiently. Through this tool, project staff and community members can collect survey data, track progress, and monitor indicators in a systematic and streamlined manner. KoboToolbox’s user-friendly interface and customizable forms enhance data quality and enable real-time data analysis, empowering the project with up-to-date information for decision-making. 

Furthermore, Paisajes Andinos makes effective use of OpenForis, a suite of open-source software tools for environmental data collection and analysis. OpenForis facilitates the design of complex surveys, enables systematic sampling and supports data validation and quality control.

The project also benefits from SAP Crystal Reports, a data visualization and analysis platform. Crystal enables the project team to transform complex monitoring and evaluation data into clear and insightful visual representations, such as interactive maps, graphs, and charts. These visualizations facilitate data interpretation, communication and knowledge sharing among project stakeholders and decision-makers, supporting evidence-based decision-making and promoting transparency. 

By leveraging these tools, the project ensures accuracy and reliability in the collection of data related to biodiversity, forest cover and other environmental parameters, contributing to robust monitoring and evaluation processes. By harnessing their capabilities the Paisajes Andinos project demonstrates a strong commitment to utilizing cutting-edge technologies in its monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Learn more from this project

One of the key strengths of the Paisajes Andinos project lies in its work around productive, sustainable value chains, with a notable example being its focus on the production of organic panela, an unrefined cane sugar. The project provides essential infrastructural support to enable farmers to qualify as organic panela producers, including the enhancement of ovens for more efficient production processes. Moreover, the project encourages diversification of products by supporting the production of other crops alongside panela. This diversification not only adds value to the farmers’ offerings but also contributes to their overall resilience. The project promotes sustainable production practices, such as selective harvesting and environmentally friendly approaches, while providing capacity building and training programmes to improve farmers’ skills and knowledge. Furthermore, through organic certification and collaboration, the project facilitates international market access for organic panela, creating broader market opportunities for farmers and increasing their income potential.

🇭🇳 Honduras: Mi Biósfera

About this project

The Integrated Management Project for the Río Plátano Biosphere (Mi Biósfera) aims to protect the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, which is one of the last remaining tropical rainforests in Central America and is rich in biodiversity. Mi Biósfera’s objective is to reduce deforestation, protect biodiversity, and improve food security in a pilot area of the biosphere reserve. It focuses on promoting sustainable and integrated landscape management systems through agricultural value chains and zero deforestation approaches. 

The project is divided into five components, including strengthening landscape management, fostering livestock and coffee value chains, implementing a climate financing mechanism, restoring degraded forest areas, and generating knowledge related to climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods.

Coordinated by the Honduran National Institute for Forest, Protected Areas and Wildlife Conservation and Development, the project involves several institutions, including the Zamorano Panamerican Agriculture University, the Honduran Foundation for Rural Business Development, the National University of Agriculture, and the Presidential Climate Change Office, Climate Plus.

Key ILM elements

Stakeholder identification

Preliminary information to map key stakeholders for the Mi Biósfera project’s interventions, the team used a methodology called the ‘Key Stakeholder Mapping’. This is a rapid assessment method that allows the team to understand, in a simple way, the social realities in which the project is immersed, the potential stakeholders present in a territory, how they interact with each other, what their beliefs, values and behaviour are and how they are defined, as well as their perceptions and their influence on the implementation of the Mi Biósfera project. 

Iterative and adaptive management

The Mi Biósfera project also benefits from its integration of scientific research and monitoring. By collaborating with universities, research institutions, and environmental experts, the project has access to cutting-edge knowledge and expertise in the field of conservation and sustainable development. This scientific approach allows for evidence-based decision-making and the continuous evaluation of project outcomes. Monitoring systems are in place to assess the effectiveness of conservation measures, identify emerging challenges, and adapt strategies accordingly. The integration of research and monitoring ensures that the project remains adaptive and responsive to the evolving needs of the ecosystem and the communities it serves. It also provides a valuable platform for knowledge exchange and the dissemination of best practices, both within Honduras and globally, contributing to the broader field of conservation and sustainable development.

Learn more from this project

One notable strength of the Mi Biósfera project lies in its work around productive zero-deforestation cattle ranching. By implementing innovative techniques and practices, the project has reduced carbon emissions associated with cattle farming. Through measures, such as the use of rotational grazing and improved pasture management, the project has minimized the environmental impact of cattle ranching while maintaining high productivity levels. The adoption of sustainable wiring and solar panels for energy supply in ranching operations has further reduced reliance on fossil fuels and contributed to lower carbon emissions. These climate-smart farming practices have demonstrated the efficienct use of land, allowing for increased cattle stocking rates without compromising environmental sustainability. 

Model farm developments have been established to showcase these practices as examples of better resource management, attracting other farmers to adopt similar sustainable and climate-smart farming approaches. The project even reported successful outcome stories in which at least two model farms, Miguel Arias’ Las Marías and Ramón Santos’ Río Negro-Pisijire, have a negative carbon balance. Other positive outcomes include improved soil quality, enhanced water conservation, and increased revenues for farmers, all achieved with fewer human and financial costs.

Read more about sustainable cattle ranching in Latin America and the Carribbean.

🇯🇲 Jamaica: Hills to Ocean

About this project

A Jamaican Path from Hills to Ocean focuses on increasing resilience to climate change and reducing poverty through integrated and sustainable landscape management in three selected watershed management units (WMUs). Its goal is to support community-based organizations, including farmers, fisherfolk, entrepreneurs, and environmental groups, in improving their management and stewardship of targeted areas. A key aspect of the project’s objective is to address the negative impacts of hillside farming, such as soil erosion and landslides during the rainy season.  

Executed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the project’s technical implementation is carried out by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Public Gardens Division, both under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the National Environment and Planning Agency. 

Key ILM element


One salient characteristic of this project lies in the involvement of main implementing agencies that possess mandates for policy action in the landscapes. Agencies such as the National Environment Planning Agency, the Forestry Department, and the Fisheries Division have the authority and expertise to enforce regulations and guidelines for sustainable resource management. Leveraging their legitimacy and institutional capacity, these agencies play a key role in convening stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, and civil society organizations. Through collaborative platforms and participatory processes, they facilitate dialogue, build consensus, and promote sustainable practices. The agencies’ involvement ensures the alignment of policies and actions across different sectors, fostering a holistic and integrated approach to landscape management.

Learn more from this project

During its initial phases, the H2O project conducted a Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) through the University of the West Indies (Mona). This assessment specifically focused on understanding the dynamics and health of ecosystems in the selected WMUs. It referred to stakeholder activity driving degradation as well as stakeholder impacted by degradation trends. The REA reported data on the level of “resilience” of informants surveyed in each of the WMUs. This assessment served as a basis to identify priority areas for project intervention efforts. 

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States: OECS-ILM

About this project

This project, implemented by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and its member states, encompasses nine individual projects tailored to the unique situations of each island. Among these, three (in Anguilla, Dominica, and Grenada) are classified as ILM projects, while six (in Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) are categorized as isSimple Land Management projects. 

The primary objective is to address challenges such as land degradation, deforestation, and biodiversity loss, with a focus on promoting sustainable land management practices and enhancing ecosystem resilience. The overall project aims to optimize land’s contribution to agriculture, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, while preserving ecosystem services and improving the quality of life for stakeholders, including local farmers and communities in selected watersheds and geographic locations.

Key ILM element


A noteworthy characteristic of the OECS-ILM project is its comprehensive approach that spans nine initiatives across small island developing states. Each initiative is designed to tackle specific issues related to land degradation and sustainable land management, employing customized strategies and interventions based on the individual island’s unique needs and challenges. This diversity of projects provides opportunities to enhance the effectiveness and relevance of the overall programme, as it recognizes the distinct characteristics and requirements of each participating island.

Learn more from this project

Recognizing the significant potential of agroforestry systems, the OECS-ILM project places particular emphasis on their application in countries like St Lucia and Grenada, where they can help mitigate risks associated with hillside farming and soil erosion, especially in hurricane-prone areas. These systems offer opportunities to harness the benefits of trees and perennial crops within agricultural landscapes. 

In Grenada, the project focuses on promoting agroforestry systems that support the cultivation of valuable crops such as nutmeg, cocoa, and other species, which are well-suited to the local conditions and have economic significance. Similarly, in St. Lucia, the initiative aims to establish agroforestry options to diversify existing farming systems, which are currently dominated by dasheen monocultures. Additionally, St. Lucia plans to create an agro-tourism park, further diversifying income sources and promoting sustainable land use practices.

Newsletter #4 | May 2023

Read the fourth edition of our newsletter

News you can use: our newsletter bursting with Integrated Landscape Management resources, tools and learnings:

  • 🇪🇺 Conversations with some of our programme’s masterminds in Brussels
  • 🛠️ New resources and tools for your on-the-ground project use
  • 👀 A closer look at both low-tech (grass!) and high-tech (carbon offsetting 😳) tools you might want to employ
  • 🇲🇺 Reflections from our Mauritius project

Without getting people on board, we will not be able to achieve the kind of goals that we set out originally for the landscape. It will really not happen if we don’t get to have everyone sitting around the same table – the same virtual table, if you will – and agreeing on some of the basic visions for what is going to be done in the landscape.

– Niclas Gottmann, Policy Officer Land and Environment, DG INTPA, European Commission


Common Ground in Brussels

The Central Component led a session at the European Commission’s 2023 INTPA-NEAR Environment and Climate Change Week in Brussels last month. Titled ‘Common Ground’, Kim Geheb’s presentation showcased the potential and realities of Integrated Landscape Management, by showcasing examples from a number of the LFF projects.

The next day, Kim sat down with the EC’s Bernard Crabbé and Niclas Gottmann to discuss how an ILM approach can be applied across EC programming. He started by asking them each what their key impressions from the session were. 

I would say the power of these landscape approaches. We could see how they really unlock development processes in different places. It was amazing to see the diversity of perspectives on it, obviously reflecting the diversity of contexts we have in these different countries. 

– Bernard Crabbé, Head of Environment and Mainstreaming, DG INTPA, European Commission

Sometimes we tend to think quite linearly, from A to B: we have a plan; we’re going to go through with it; and this is what the outcomes are going to be. Instead, I think we need to be more conscious about the fact that we will have to go back to the drawing board at some point with the input that we’re receiving from everyone who is involved, making sure that everyone has a voice. And taking that feedback seriously: honestly engaging with it. We’re then going to adjust in order to finally have an outcome that benefits everyone involved.

 – Niclas Gottmann, Policy Officer Land and Environment, DG INTPA, European Commission


Landscapes for our collaboration

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with an initiative that has impressed us and whose publications we have been promoting.  “1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People (1000L) is a radical collaboration of change agents working together to accelerate landscape efforts to sustain and restore ecosystems, build rural prosperity and confront climate change,” is how the initiative is described on its website.  And that’s exactly what we plan to be doing together. 😀

There are massive synergies and mutually-strengthening interest areas between us and the 1,000L programme – not least that we both seem to sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to how we can do ILM, and how we can use to it contribute to global sustainability and addressing climate change. For us, it was a no-brainer to team with them, so that what we’re both doing goes further and impacts better, and we learn from each other. 

Kim Geheb, Central Component Coordinator, Landscapes For Our Future

Your Knowledge Hub

ILM wasn’t born yesterday. There is a significant and growing body of knowledge and resources available, and we’d like to point you in the right direction to find what you need to know as quickly and easily as possible. From academic publications to news from other projects, reflections from the field, interviews to webinars, there’s a wealth of knowledge waiting for you to dig in to.

Just launched: our programme’s picture library

Whether you’re needing to quickly find some pics to illustrate the concept of ILM, or you’re looking for a safe and secure storage spot for your own project’s images, this file vault and public library are for you. 

It’s a work in progress, and you’re invited to collaborate. Feel free to download any of the images in the public library, or email Dominique le Roux to request access to use private storage facilities for your project or team. 


ILM Characteristic: Tools

Tools might be the most obvious of the Integrated Landscape Management dimensions – we as the Central Component identify six we believe to be key (here’s a short and snappy overview on YouTube) – but they are simply a means to an end. Technical interventions and techniques are necessary to support ILM processes, usually to enable assessment and monitoring; but more particularly to furnish ILM processes with the knowledge needed to enable deliberation, decision-making and action

And they’re especially important in the establishment of baselines – both social and biophysical – to allow ILM initiatives to evaluate progress and make adjustments where necessary. Tools may be brought to bear to monitor and assess biophysical parameters – for example remote sensing and associated GIS analysis to assess land-use cover, hydrological systems, or carbon stocks and flows. They can also be deployed as methodologies and approaches to determine social, political or cultural landscapes, or differences amongst stakeholder perceptions of these.

Additionally tools can include the techniques deployed to obtain and enable co-creation by stakeholders, or collaboration.

And then there are the tools that support the retention or procurement of resources. In our examples below, we look at two tools on very different ends of the complexity spectrum:

  • the deceptively simple use of grass hedges in soil-loss prevention, and
  • the extremely complex world of project financing through carbon accounting.

🛠️ Simple tool: grass as a hedge

Could a long line of grass hedge against erosion? Zimbabwe’s politics over the past 25 years has been very much defined by land, so there were understandably low levels of trust when a former farmer came in and started planting vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) on communal lands. As we found when we visited, this soil loss prevention tool appears to be yielding results. Could it do the same for you?

🛠️ Complex tool: carbon accounting

It’s a mine field, this carbon emissions reductions business, isn’t it? Just when you were getting your head round REDD+ and its potential to fund your Integrated Landscape Management project, along came The Guardian and shot it all to shreds. Should you persist or desist? We, as the Landscapes For Our Future Central Component, can’t answer that for you, but we can provide a collation of info that might help you to blaze a trail through the ruins.   


Ridge to Reef

Though the island of Mauritius is famed for its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, the members of the Central Component who visited earlier this year were not there for R&R, but rather to learn from the Ridge to Reef (R2R) project that is just beginning to develop momentum. Khalil Walji outlines how the six key ILM dimensions take shape and how they position the team from the National Parks Conservation Authority, to restore and increase native forest cover across the island.    


Land and soil health assessment tool

The Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF) is a simple, practical, yet comprehensive and scientifically robust method, developed by fellow CIFOR-ICRAF scientists, that provides a science-based field protocol for measuring land and soil characteristics, as well as vegetation composition and land degradation status over time. 

Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is integral to the European Union’s (EU) ambitious post-2020 biodiversity and food systems agendas and its commitment to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. ILM approaches furthermore facilitate an inclusive green recovery consistent with the EU Green Deal. In 2019, the EU launched the five-year Landscapes For Our Future programme, which now supports 22 ILM projects, spanning 19 countries and 3 sub-regions across the Global South.

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The EC and the lens of integration

Wouldn't you like to sit down with the EU masterminds of our programme and ask them their vision and rationale for Integrated Landscape Management? Members of the Central Component did just that recently in Brussels.

Niclas Gottmann is the Central Component’s direct line of interaction with the European Commission, where the Landscapes For Our Future programme was conceptualised.

Here he speaks about the importance the EU places on integration, and some of the key characteristics he sees in Integrated Landscape Management. Listen as he speaks into the need for a common vision, convening power and the need for iterative and adaptive management.

Newsletter #2 | September 2022

Read the second edition of our newsletter

ILM is a critical approach because it acknowledges the competing interests of various stakeholder groups and user groups when trying to manage landscapes sustainably.

We know there are competing interests around biodiversity, agricultural production, conservation, livelihoods, governance… And ILM tries to create a framework for us to find synergies and benefits across all these different principles. 

Leigh Ann Winowiecki


6 characteristics of
Integrated Landscape Management

The Central Component aims to provide strategies, practices and evidence to help both those in the field and those at policy-making level to develop and scale more impactful and inclusive landscape solutions. The CC team will be drafting and sharing all kinds of guidelines, frameworks, papers and tools from us, and aims to share foundational knowledge on ILM. So for right now let’s get foundational: here’s an overview of ILM basics.

Which of these 6 ILM characteristics are critical to your project? How important do you think they are? Tell us in the Forum.


Let’s talk. Join us in the Landscapes Forum

Big news: we’ve been speaking about a purpose-built online space in which you can share ideas and best practices, learn from other practitioners and peers, ask questions and seek advice. Finally, it’s here, and you’re invited.

Join us in the Landscapes Forum for both public and behind-the-scenes discussions… Follow others’ conversations or start your own. Read or watch the latest thinking around ILM. Go on: use the Forum as a support facility where you can post your own queries as well as answer those of others. The central component team is actively moderating discussion and will be available to respond to key questions and technical support requests.

Speak up. We’re ready.

Or just access it from the front page of our website, where you can register (please do) or view public discussions as a guest.


Home on the Range

We couldn’t have asked for a warmer – or more accommodating – welcome than the one we received in April in magical Kenya, when the RangER (Kenya Rangelands Ecosystem Services pRoductivity) Programme hosted members of the Central Component on our first learning mission.

We quickly discovered that ameliorating conflict in the area is one of RangER’s major goals, which identifies a clear relationship between livelihoods, environmental degradation and conflict in the Amaya Triangle, a mosaic of savanna grasslands, shrublands and woodlands to the north of Mount Kenya.

The area hosts private and community conservancies that support both livestock production and wildlife conservation. Increasing changes in land use away from pastoralist rangeland to crop production and settlements have resulted in clusters of problems around insecurity, resource conflicts, poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, and severe degradation of natural resources. Frequent droughts and climate change coupled with human and livestock population growth have exacerbated this situation.

Can ILM help to solve these problems?


Science Week 2022

In June we celebrated Science Week 2022 at CIFOR-ICRAF, joined by 500+ scientists on campus between Nairobi and Bogor.

It was the first opportunity to meet (almost) our full Landscapes For Our Future team to discuss the future of Integrated Landscape Approaches (ILA) and to ask: “Are they old wine in new bottles? Another development fad? Or are they a feasible solution to landscape scale development and climate challenges?”

Have your say…


The Little Sustainable Landscapes Book

Here’s a little something that’s nourished our minds around ILM in the past. Is this oldie still a goodie?

Published back in 2015, The Little Sustainable Landscapes Book remains a piece of our mosaic of understanding – a foundational volume by thinkers that remain very much engaged in the landscape space today. Of course, our thinking on ILM has advanced plenty over these past seven years: from a biophysical, technocratic and top-down approach to one that has more organic origins but is also more ambiguous and complexity-embracing.

Have your say: What have you learned from this publication? What do you think has changed since it was published?

Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is integral to the European Union’s (EU) ambitious post-2020 biodiversity and food systems agendas and its commitment to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. ILM approaches furthermore facilitate an inclusive green recovery consistent with the EU Green Deal. In 2019, the EU launched the five-year Landscapes For Our Future programme, which now supports 22 ILM projects, spanning 19 countries and 3 sub-regions across the Global South.

Newsletter #3 | January 2023

Read the third edition of our newsletter

Social justice and climate change are two processes that need to be able to accompany one another. Maybe we should start understanding that they are in fact not separate. They are one and the same thing.

Kim Geheb, LFF Central Component Coordinator

As 2023 gathers momentum, we’re looking back on lessons learned and looking forward to implementation.

Let’s kick off with hearing from you. Please would you spare 20 seconds to respond anonymously to two quick questions? We, the Central Component, want to make sure we’re providing tools that you can use, so your feedback matters.

Thank you! Now it’s our turn to provide feedback to you:

COP27 was always going to be criticized for being just more ‘blah, blah, blah’. As it opened in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt in late November, serious questions were rightly raised around issues of human rights and social justice: those concerned with preventing climate catastrophe were proving blinkered to social justice, many argued.

We stepped into that fray and hosted a session on Integrated Landscape Management at one of the COP27 sideline events: GLF Climate 2022. The result was a rich look at where we are, where we’ve been, lessons learned, and thought processes we should most urgently engage in.

Here’s what we took away from that and think you might also find worth in mulling over for implementation in 2023.


Our favourite ILM overview yet

Cora van Oosten is a hugely experienced landscape practitioner, with 25-years worth of practical, hands-on field experience: she and her team from Wageningen University, Netherlands work to manage, govern and restore landscapes in an economically viable and socially acceptable manner. That’s a pretty good grounding in the subject matter, right?

Her presentation provided an insightful overview of the whole spectrum of what is contained within ILM. (If you watch nothing else, watch this one.) With characterful illustrations, she cuts to the chase on what needs doing – about getting out of informality, of harnessing the strengths and mobilizing the capabilities of the various actors. And of the bridging roles ILM can play.

Integration, she made clear in her talk, is not just across sectors but across scales.

Institutional capabilities relate to actors not only staying at the very local level and finding the techniques, the tools and the instruments to make landscapes better, but also to have these local actions travel up to higher level influences, travel up to local official levels to even top level official levels where they can enter the world of policies and travel back down – and that’s what some people like to call scale. 

Dr Cora van Oosten


Our voices from the field proved to be in chorus: while providing overviews of their projects on completely different continents, our speakers from both Africa and Latin America re-emphasised the centrality of Multi-stakeholder Fora in the ILM approach. The MSF architecture in both Miriam Seeman’s and Abena Woode’s presentations were impressive in the way they sought to give structure to landscape level dialogues while also accommodating the biophysical trends and data.

LEAN in Ghana

Abena Woode provided an overview of the ways in which the Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation project aims to mitigate climate change by catalyzing system change for over 200 communities across three landscapes in this West African country.

Water as a connector in Bolivia

Aiming to improve water security for 120,000 people in vulnerable communities in the forested Bolivian lowlands, Miriam Seeman explained how this project is working to strengthen water climate governance structures, develop financial mechanisms and promote sustainable business models, with a particular focus on technological innovation.

Conversation starters

We began our GLF Climate session with audience surveys on whether global institutions were perceived as fit-for-purpose in addressing climate change, and on whether social justice was a necessary ingredient for climate change.

The results were mixed, and the ensuring conversation wide-ranging. Watch the video, and please do join the conversation in our Forum.


A Practical Guide to Integrated Landscape Management

Wanting the behind-the-scenes study guide to ILM? An up-to-date practical guide to Integrated Landscape Management? With the aim of providing a “generic, locally adaptable, conceptual process and practical guidance for carrying out ILM,” the authors of this guide and its accompanying Management Tool Guide aim to make the process of reaching agreement on a shared landscape vision and strategy easier.

👏 We say kudos to 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People.

👉 What do YOU think? Tell us in the Forum.

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

Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is integral to the European Union’s (EU) ambitious post-2020 biodiversity and food systems agendas and its commitment to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. ILM approaches furthermore facilitate an inclusive green recovery consistent with the EU Green Deal. In 2019, the EU launched the five-year Landscapes For Our Future programme, which now supports 22 ILM projects, spanning 19 countries and 3 sub-regions across the Global South.

Multi-stakeholder platforms for cross-border biodiversity conservation and landscape governance in East Africa: Perspectives and outlook

This working paper explores multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) for biodiversity conservation in East Africa. It assesses challenges, success factors, and the need for research on governance and monitoring. MSPs are crucial for managing biodiversity across sectors but require institutional linkages, skilled facilitation, science-policy connections, and sustainable financing.

From Ridge to Reef

On the island of Mauritius, home to some of the world's most diverse and ecologically important forests and ecosystems, the Ridge to Reef (R2R) project is restoring and increasing native forest cover. In early 2023, members of our Central Component visited on a learning mission.
Tamarin Bay, District of Black River, Mauritius with a view of Rempart Mountain. Photo by Khalil Walji.

Mauritius is famed for its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. This beautiful island is also characterised by a high number of endemic species found nowhere else in the world.

One of the most critical landscapes, and key to the Mauritius from Ridge to Reef (R2R) project, is the Black River Gorges National Park. Covering an area of around 6,500 hectares, the park is home to many of the island’s rarest species, including the Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon, and the echo parakeet. In a broader context, Mauritius forms part of the Southwest Indian Ocean Biodiversity Hotspot, in what is known as the Mascarene Archipelago, globally admired for its large numbers of endemic plant and animal species.

Many of these ecosystems are, however, being degraded by deforestation, land-use change, and invasive species, which have seen native forest areas diminish significantly since 1835. At present, they cover only 2% of their previous range, and 89% of endemic flora are considered threatened with extinction.

Who’s who

The responsibility to conserve and expand these globally relevant ecosystems is placed on the shoulders of the team from the National Parks Conservation Services (NPCS), which was established in 1994 to manage the native terrestrial biodiversity of Mauritius and to retain its genetic diversity for future generations.

About R2R

The Mauritius from Ridge to Reef project works in various national parks around the island, including the Black River Gorges National Park (BRNP), Bras D’eau, and Ile Ambre where the project is principally focused on restoring and increasing native forest cover. Here the R2R will focus on the removal of invasive species, the replanting of indigenous and endemic species, and the reforestation of non-forested areas outside the national parks, in the catchment area around the BRNP where state-owned agricultural land is leased to farming communities. These areas are targeted for the expansion of indigenous forest cover through “steppingstones” or connectivity corridors and will require the engagement of farming communities. The project is also targeting mangrove areas immediately surrounding the shores of the island to improve mangrove health to act as a protective shield and buffer against sea-level rise. Healthy mangroves further support the creation of fish nurseries and improve the availability of animal protein and food security for the local population.

What we learned

One of the core activity areas of the Central Component is gathering the knowledge and lessons generated from the implementation of the 22 ILM projects in the programme. With this, we assess where we can support the LFF projects, and identify experiences that might be of use to other projects in the programme (what we call “cross-learning”). 

The NPCS is primarily focused on conservation and restoration within national park boundaries. The ambitions under the R2R project are an expansion of their mandate and intention to work with diverse actors across the island to enhance and to extend their goals. This will require the deployment of mediation, institutional flexibility, and convening capabilities to achieve ILM outcomes. Here is a sample of our findings about the project they lead, centred around the six ‘dimensions’ of ILM we have identified. 

Pictured: Khalil Walji (left) and Kim Geheb (right) give the bee-keeping outputs an earnest thumbs-up.

Stakeholder identification

The project collaborates with several key stakeholders across the landscape including partners in various government ministries, NGOs, and academia. The first event to engage stakeholders in the project was a workshop held during the visit of the Central Component (CC) which provided an overview of project objectives and worked to create a unified common vision for Mauritius. The project does not have a fully-fledged Theory of Change (ToC) to guide project implementation. ToCs are important, because they can help projects to theorise the strategies and approaches that they will use to generate outcomes. For the LFF, outcomes represent behavioural changes: stakeholders do things differently, to support the R2R project’s objectives, and to maximise the value that it brings. To achieve this, all projects need to have a good understanding of the stakeholder landscape, and the relationships between them.

The CC uses an approach called Net-Mapping to map out stakeholders and the dynamics amongst them to inform the creation of a Theory of Change.

Find out more here.

Multi-stakeholder fora (MSF)

An MSF has not been created for the R2R but is acknowledged as necessary for the success of the project, especially given the number of relevant government ministries and project partners. In lieu of creating a new forum, the potential to exploit existing spaces for dialogue is being explored. One promising option is a new Inter-ministerial Forum for Climate Change, which could act as a platform for integration.

A critical aspect of the successful function of an MSF is the skill sets needed to convene, mediate and engage stakeholders. The NPCS team does not at present have this in-house capacity but would seem very keen to bring in these skill sets, as well as look to the project partners, who may be best placed to co-convene and facilitate this forum.

Common vision 

The R2R project did not have a commonly-agreed-upon vision for its landscape. During a one-day workshop with 40+ participants, project stakeholders began to define a common vision for the R2R project. A co-created vision can be immensely powerful as a ‘north star’ behind which project stakeholders and activities can be organized.

Participants were asked to explore their vision for Mauritius 10 years into the future and to consider agricultural, economic, and environmental dimensions. Group discussions were held to further flesh out common challenges to achieve this vision and who needed to work together to arrive at this future state.

A circular blue and green economy in Mauritius that supports linking the environment with livelihoods through:

  • A sustainable and productive agricultural sector that enhances food security and self-sufficiency.
  • Environmental management across all land uses with less waste and more renewable energy.
  • A diversified economy that operates within biophysical boundaries and supports equity and better lives for all.
  • Harmonization of policies and legislation with better enforcement and supporting greater awareness, inclusion, and empowerment of people in decision-making for environmental outcomes.”

– The proposed vision for Mauritius, which emerged from the workshop.
(This vision was not endorsed and is presented as a working draft.)

👉 Explore the post ‘6 Ingredients to ILM’, which features the key aspects of defining a common vision.


The NPCS and R2R is well institutionalized into the Mauritian government, given their role as service under the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security. Although they are well placed, the creation of an MSF should also be developed with sustainability in mind, to ensure it serves as a common space for dialogue for the R2R, but beyond it as well.

Iterative and adaptive management

It is early days for the project, but the NPCS team’s experience suggests that it has well-established systems to monitor project interventions and progress. How these systems are used in the iterative and adaptive management of the programme is less clear. The CC suggested these areas should be prioritized through annual technical and steering committee meetings, as well as prioritizing the monitoring and feedback to enable the team to course-correct where necessary.

Technical solutions and tools

The project’s knowledge of its biophysical and ecosystem conditions is high. Its in-house and project-based systems for monitoring these trends are well established, although they indicated the need for increased capacity, and systems that can be better used for adaptive and iterative management and to generate evidence to inform policy at higher levels.

Defining Integrated Landscape Management for Policy Makers

This brief lays out and explains the five critical elements of integrated landscape management, particularly where agriculture is an important land use, and illustrates the importance and background of the approach.