November 1, 2014

Taking a Look at a Landscape (Approach) Portrait of Africa

Editor’s note: In a recently published article in the journal World Development, researchers at the World Agroforestry Centre and EcoAgriculture Partners surveyed 87 integrated landscape initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to answer questions like what motivates land managers to start ILIs, which stakeholders are most likely to be involved, and what are the most commonly achieved outcomes. The report is part of the larger Continental Review series led by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Kate Langford of the World Agroforestry Centre reports on the importance of the study, speaking with the ICRAF researchers involved, in this post, from the World Agroforestry Centre’s news and events.

A study of 87 integrated landscape initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa suggests investing in several forms of capacity development and involving women will increase the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes.

Interest in managing landscapes in Africa as a whole has increased considerably in the past 5 years, and a new analysis of such approaches indicates they may be able realize several different objectives at the same time. Some of these objectives, such as agriculture and conservation or livelihoods and conservation, were previously considered mutually incompatible.

Published in World Development, the study provides the first region-wide portrait of integrated landscape initiatives; what context they operate in, the challenges they seek to address, the activities they invest in, the stakeholders who participate and the extent to which they are achieving outcomes for food production, conservation, livelihoods and institutional capacity building.

Phil Dobie, Senior Fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre and co-author of the study, says there is a growing trend internationally to move away from a sectoral approach in conservation and development efforts towards a landscape approach.

“This trend has been driven by climate change, increased land and water scarcity, concerns about food security and energy production, interest in agricultural investment and increasingly sophisticated understandings of the role of ecosystems in human wellbeing,” explains Dobie.

Rural landscapes are viewed by many as the nexus where these interlinked challenges converge. This explains the recent increase in investments in integrated landscape initiatives which have multiple objectives, such as increasing agricultural productivity, sustaining natural resources and improving livelihoods.

Read the full post on the World Agroforestry Centre site, and leave your comments below. Are ILIs in sub-Saharan Africa living up to their potential?
Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT

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