A growing world population and global economy are creating increased demand for food, fibre, bioenergy, forest products and water, and thus putting pressure on natural resources and environmental services. The limited availability of resources will force societies to produce more from less in order to meet societal demands, with a strong awareness of the need for sustainable development.
These pressures affect different sectors of society in complex, interconnected ways. The concept of Integrated Landscape Approaches was developed to better address this complexity. It takes a holistic and integrated view in conducting analysis, drafting policies, and finding solutions that encompass many sectors in the management of natural resources.
Interest in landscape approaches is now growing rapidly, mostly driven by the issues of rural development, nature conservation and food security in developing countries. The Global Landscapes Forum in Lima brought together hundreds of policy-makers, researchers, business and civil society leaders.
Landscape approaches have already been implemented all over the world, in different forms, at different scales, and in a range of environments and setups. The implementation of landscape approaches so far has encountered several obstacles and difficulties. These include insecure land tenure rights, inefficient institutions, inadequate capacity, sector-based subsidies, insufficient funding, a disconnect from markets, lack of political will, and weak governance. But there have also been positive experiences; one key success factor has been strong involvement and coordination by local stakeholders and by outside beneficiaries of landscape approaches. All experiences show that if a stakeholder platform is not in place, the landscape activity will fail. The platform provides the basis for organizing the landscape activity and engaging different actors.
Landscapes are shaped by socio-political as well as economic factors, including, for example, government policies, market structures, taxes, institutions, property rights and other legislation, public research and development, and subsidies. Thus, if a landscape approach is to be established, it must in some way be integrated with overall socio-economic planning and development. This should be a guiding principle for any framework for establishing a landscape approach.