Still emerging from the afterglow of the Global Landscapes Forum, the topics of a ‘Green Economy’, market incentives, and private sector partnerships have all garnered considerable interest on the frontiers of sustainable landscapes. The economic realities driving land use and natural resource management have raised concerns among those with an eye toward the long-term viability and health of production systems. This fourth Landscapes Roundtable, and the final one of 2013, builds on some of the themes emerging through the discourse around a ‘green economy.’
Yet there is considerable inertia in our current market structure and food system. While Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) simultaneously supports the multiple functions of agricultural production, ecosystem services, and rural livelihoods within production landscapes, most investments and supply chains operate with a sector focus and often without sustainability in mind. Alternative mechanisms and approaches could fundamentally shift land management at a landscape scale, and also help farmers and other land managers earn more income or build more financial wealth/capital through practices and business models that enhance ecosystem stewardship.
So, over the next two weeks, our guest contributors are considering how market structures and financial instruments must shift to better support integrated approaches to agricultural management. Market incentives, such payments for ecosystem services, have continued to garner interest and begun to take a broader view of rural landscapes, encompassing multiple ecosystem services and multiple sectors. Agricultural supply chain strategies for good management of natural capital has included third party eco-certification, industry eco-standards for suppliers, and aggregation of producers to market, process, and wholesale products adhering to specific sustainability criteria. Some funding sources have even instituted screening criteria that give preference to ecosystem stewards through conservation contracts or lending eligibility requirements.
Much opportunity for innovation exists. The question we turn to over the course of this series is how to encourage processes, practices, and landscape elements that better support ecosystem services, changing the valuation context for these services. Markets play a critical role in how supply chains and agricultural landscapes develop, and providing stronger spatial, programmatic, and institutional linkages is key to achieving landscape objectives such as food production and improved rural livelihoods.
Reducing Risk: Landscape Approaches to Sustainable Sourcing – Kissinger, Brosser, and Gross
Financing Strategies for Integrated Landscape Management: Implications for Climate Policy – Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative Policy Brief
Economics, Markets, and Incentives for Livelihoods and Landscapes – Landscapes Blog
Beyond the Farm: What’s Next for Certification? – Landscapes Blog
Read the Full Series:
Producer Support Structures for Sustainable Landscapes: Solidaridad’s Perspective – Katie Minderhoud and Andreanne Grimard
Risky Business: A Landscape Approach to Sustainable Supply Chains – Gabrielle Kissinger
Designing Standards for Impacts at Scale – Bambi Semroc