Would you like to know the future? More specifically, the future of the Mekong River Basin? You could go to a fortune teller, or, assuming you would prefer something rather a bit more realistic and reliable, you could read Smajgl and Ward’s excellent compilation of recent research on Mekong futures.
Large scale agricultural expansion is a controversial topic in current development debates. Investments in land for agricultural production can potentially bring important economic and social benefits. Yet, increasing the agricultural areal often happens at the expense of forests, resulting in biodiversity losses and greenhouse gas emissions.
It looks like the triple bottom line might be gaining headway in the development sector. Despite the long-standing schism between Wall Street investors and environmental or social activists, the two sides are starting to find common ground at the increasingly popular landscape intersection.
When we talk about large-scale landscape initiatives, one of the biggest risks is losing out on the detail. How do we continue to take into account the intricate dynamics between people and nature as we go bigger and bigger?
The new battle cry uniting climate campaigners, environmentalists, agriculturalists and advocates of a landscape approach to planning is for the restoration of former forest land. But what do we mean by “restoration”? Restoration to what? And for whom?
Fruit trees are the cornerstone of Central Asian agriculture. They grow well in water-scarce environments, help restore soils and are an important source of food and nutrition. It appears now that these trees may also hold the key to restoring degraded lands in the region’s mountains.
Who are the stakeholders in landscape initiatives in South and Southeast Asia? Recent study finds that the private sector is the least involved actor. What are the incentives for a true multi-stakeholder approach?
How can we ensure that efforts to restore degraded lands deliver results that meet the expectations of committed governments and financial investors? Panelists debated at the Global Landscapes Forum last weekend.
I am a journalist. I flit in and out of places. But I have spoken to enough people at the receiving end of aid to know that what they crave is engagement, time, consistency and above all people who listen and act on what they are told. Not much aid work these days looks like that.
Let me contribute to this discussion using large-scale reforestation of degraded or marginal farmlands as an example. In too many cases large-scale schemes have failed to achieve their objectives.
When I first arrived at the CPWF, I was quite surprised at how low in esteem “communication” was perceived within CGIAR and CPWF (unfortunately it still is). This was not communication for development, as the prevailing opinion was that communications was concerned only with public relations.
On whether large-scale land initiatives can fulfil their promise, my short answer is ‘Yes’ but they require adjustments and transformative reforms of old ideas and approaches on sustainable land management.
The WLE Focal Region Writeshop process was distinctive in that it turned the focus on identifying research outcomes as the basis for designing research. In each writeshop we challenged researchers to think beyond traditional research approaches. Instead of starting with a research output at they assumed would be useful in the region, we reversed the process.
Those who travelled across various parts of Ethiopia have witnessed the rugged and degraded landscapes. They have observed the enormity of environmental deterioration and might have wondered how an ‘Agricultural-led Industrialization’ could be possible in the country.
Can large-scale land initiatives fulfill their promises? Yes. In a word. It doesn’t have to cost the earth – but it’s not dirt cheap, and it takes a whole community. Ask Fred Kihara, fund manager at The Nature Conservancy in Kenya.
New month-long online discussion begins: Large-scale land interventions are on the rise. Whether through restoration projects such as the new 20×20 initiative and the Bonn Challenge, or foreign direct investment in huge swaths of land, investors are seeing big opportunities in large land projects. But can they fulfil their promises?