Inclusive and participatory spatial planning and land governance are becoming more and more important, as cumulative pressures from the demands for urban expansion, the production of food, feed and biofuels, and nature conservation lead to increasing competition for natural resources. This also has an impact on the flow of ecosystem services.
The Landscape Approach
The landscape approach is increasingly seen as an alternative approach to conventional, sectoral land-use planning and management of natural resources. Such approaches have not reflected the multi-sectoral nature of many landscapes. Actors operate in silos and assume particular lands have one priority objective, such as farming or forestry, which results in a ‘trade-off’ against other objectives.
The landscape approach urges cross-sectoral, multi-stakeholder and policy integration at the “appropriate” scale. The landscape is increasingly seen as the level on which the current and future global challenges converge. As a socio-ecological system that is organised around a distinct ecological, historical, economic and socio-cultural identity, the landscape is also the spatial scale on which many different stakeholders need to find ways to cooperate.
In the context of achieving the globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals, local balancing of competing interests, sharing of benefits and mitigating perceived collective risks are prerequisites to solving complex nexus challenges.
Integrated Landscape Management
Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) is a way of managing a landscape that involves local, regional and sometimes even international stakeholders, like for instance farmers, businesses, NGOs, indigenous communities and various types of government organisations. Together, the stakeholders agree on a shared vision that aims at achieving multiple goals on for instance food, water, climate and biodiversity simultaneously.
An effective ILM process can create an improved understanding among stakeholders of the conditions and dynamics in a landscape. It thereby also supports mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Mainstreaming aims to reduce the impacts that productive sectors, development investments and other human activities exert on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Spatial modelling, using for instance the GLOBIO model, and participatory scenario development can support ILM processes, for example to identify and evaluate different policy interventions and explore potential future developments. In order to support discussions and landscape planning in multi-stakeholder platforms, this was explored in ongoing ILM initiatives in Ghana, Tanzania and Honduras.