Before a landscape approach, an integrative initiative to try

At the landscape level, tackling one problem invariably involves trade-offs with another. For instance, expanding smallholder oil palm production in Ghana can improve livelihoods, but also implies deforestation, biodiversity loss, and a threat to food security as land for crops became increasingly scarce.

To take a more holistic approach to problem-solving, integrated landscape approaches (ILAs) – often referred to simply as landscape approaches – are increasingly acknowledged as a way to address biodiversity loss, climate change, food insecurity, poverty and other issues in unison rather than in isolation.

However, landscape approaches come in many shapes and sizes, and distinguishing between, for instance, ILAs and integrated landscape-level initiatives (ILLIs) can be useful and important. The former make a deliberate effort to achieve multiple goals at once by encouraging a range of stakeholders to negotiate their competing land uses. The latter also target landscapes and multiple stakeholders, but tend to hone in on a primary goal – for instance forest restoration, climate change mitigation, or sustainable sourcing of commodities like cocoa or oil palm.