Little book offers landscape-scale solutions
The Little Sustainable Landscapes Book argues that sustainable management of landscapes is a local and global necessity – but that few landscapes around the world are being effectively managed to balance the competing demands of today, let alone those likely to emerge tomorrow.
The book, produced by the Global Canopy Programme in partnership with WWF, EcoAgriculture Partners, The Nature Conservancy and the Sustainable Trade Initiative, among others, provides an overview of the landscape concept, and examples of how integrated landscape management is successfully applied in practice.
Smarter landscape management can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions – for example by increasing food production through more efficient use of existing agricultural land, rather than clearing forests – and increase carbon storage by restoring degraded areas and improving soil management. Similarly, landscape approaches can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change – from conserving critical watersheds to creating wildlife corridors.
“Sustainable landscapes have a vital role to play in combating and adapting to climate change,” said Peter Graham, head of WWF’s Forests and Climate Programme. “The land sector – including agriculture, forests and other land use – is responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“This book offers a wealth of ideas and inspiring examples of how landscape-scale collaborations can help meet climate challenges, while providing multiple other social, environmental and economic benefits.”
The book includes several case studies of landscape-scale initiatives catalysed by REDD+, the UN framework for providing incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, manage forests sustainably and enhance carbon stocks.
In the province of Mai Ndombe, in the Democratic Republic of Congo – an area at high risk of deforestation – REDD+ finance has brought together a coalition of government agencies, community groups, companies, donors and NGOs, including WWF, to launch an ambitious green development model. Payments for avoided emissions will help to fund a range of multi-stakeholder conservation, forestry and sustainable development initiatives, reducing the pressure on forest resources while improving the livelihoods of the population.
The Mai Ndombe experience can contribute to the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative, endorsed by the African Union, which commits to using integrated landscape management to restore 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land in Africa by 2030.
Meanwhile, the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon is using REDD+ and payments for environmental services to develop its own green economy model. Thousands of smallholders receive financial incentives for conserving forest on their land, along with technical and marketing support for developing sustainable livelihoods.
“In Mai Ndombe, Acre, Borneo and many other tropical forest landscapes, we’re seeing examples of how REDD+ can bring together local and indigenous communities, governments, businesses, conservationists and other stakeholders to develop sustainable, resilient and climate-friendly landscapes,” said Graham.
“It’s imperative that world leaders take note of these efforts, and provide strong support for REDD+ and sustainable landscapes both in the post-2020 climate agreement and through urgent action now.”