This policy brief presents the case for a new approach to sustainably manage our natural resources: one that takes a holistic view of the landscape and its multiple functions. This new approach considers the interests of the full range of stakeholders and recognizes both formal and informal practices, such as the rule of law and cultural norms.
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.
No country has yet established national policies for integrated, landscape-level management of natural resources, but expectations are high for this approach to still make a significant contribution. In the sections that follow, we describe the concept in greater detail, examine its potential applications, and identify priorities for action.