The landscape is the level on which our current and future global challenges converge.
In pre-industrial, primitive or traditional landscapes, the use and conservation of available natural resources appears to have been balanced, most likely due to lower population densities, a deeper sense of community within human settlements and a locally based food production system. Increasing globalisation and technological development have accelerated the integration of producers into global supply chains, bringing economic development to many rural landscapes, for example, the emergence of palm oil production landscapes in Indonesia. However, agricultural expansion and growth do not necessarily lead to inclusive and green development. In many cases, large-scale agricultural development has gone hand in hand with land-related conflicts, the violation of indigenous population rights and the degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Today, landscapes are seen as the spatial scale on which many different stakeholders, from global to local, need to cooperate. The spatial boundary of a landscape approach is often determined by an issue, benefit or risk that is commonly acknowledged by different stakeholders in a certain area. Local balancing of competing interests, sharing benefits and mitigating perceived collective risks are prerequisites to achieving multiple SDGs simultaneously. The landscape approach aims to find a shared solution. It involves local, regional and sometimes even international negotiations between many diverse stakeholders, including farmers, NGOs, indigenous communities and governments. Creating an enabling environment and a platform that provides a level playing field for all stakeholders is considered a priority for the government.
This post originally appeared on the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency website.
Thaxton M, Forster T, Hazlewood P, Mercado L, Neely C, Scherr SJ, Wertz L, Wood S and Zandri E. (2015). Landscape partnerships for sustainable development: achieving the SDGs through integrated landscape management. LPFN.
Van der Horn S and Meijer J. (2015). The Landscape Approach. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.