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Article: Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses

Photo: Maria Ölund

Article: Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses

“Global demand for agricultural land is on a collision course with environmental protection goals. We face a “perfect storm” as we struggle to feed a burgeoning population on a diminishing supply of land, water, nutrients, and biodiversity…” This first sentence in the article highlights the requisite for a more integrated approach to address landscape challenges.

This special feature article has been published in PNAS and is written by: Jeffrey Sayer, Terry Sunderland, Jaboury Ghazoul, Jean-Laurent Pfund, Douglas Sheil, Erik Meijaard, Michelle Venter, Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono, Michael Day, Claude Garcia, Cora van Oosten, and Louise E. Buck 
 
The authors stress that global challenges such as climate change, food production and environmental conservation needs to be confronted in a holistic way as opposed to sectorial approaches. They state that there are many challenging trade-offs between different demands and goals that needs to be better understood and even if no easy answers exist on how to best confront these multiple and interlinked challenges - it is in relation to this complex situation that societies and people need to take decisions. Thus the authors emphasize that the integration of agricultural and environmental priorities will require a people centered approach at landscape scales. In the article they examine how this can be approached and the validity of underlying concepts. They further provide 10 summary principles to support implementation of a landscape approach. 
 
Access the full article here or read the abstract below 
 

Abstract:

 
“Landscape approaches” seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, mining, and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals. Here we synthesize the current consensus on landscape approaches. This is based on published literature and a consensus-building process to define good practice and is validated by a survey of practitioners. We find the landscape approach has been refined in response to increasing societal concerns about environment and development tradeoffs. Notably, there has been a shift from conservation-orientated perspectives toward increasing integration of poverty alleviation goals. We provide 10 summary principles to support implementation of a landscape approach as it is currently interpreted. These principles emphasize adaptive management, stakeholder involvement, and multiple objectives. Various constraints are recognized, with institutional and governance concerns identified as the most severe obstacles to implementation. We discuss how these principles differ from more traditional sectoral and project-based approaches. Although no panacea, we see few alternatives that are likely to address landscape challenges more effectively than an approach circumscribed by the principles outlined here. 
 
Key words: food security, integrated development approaches, social ecological systems, agriculture environment trade offs, Convention on Biological Diversity

 

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