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Tools for Integrating Conservation and Development

The goal of CIFOR’s project: Tools for Integrating Conservation and Development is to help agencies to design and implement better landscape-level conservation and development projects by learning from the successes and failures of past initiatives and understanding the trade-offs and synergies between livelihoods and conservation. This project comprises part of the theme on “Enhancing Conservation and Development Outcomes” http://www.cifor.org/Research/Livelihoods/Themes/Landscape/ 

“Win-win” situations, in which both conservation and development objectives are met, are probably more often the exception than the rule. Local people will clear forests because it pays them to do so (“lose-win”), while forest protection may be at the expense of foregoing local welfare gains (“win-lose”).

A new generation of integrated conservation and development projects, using approaches variously termed as the ‘landscape approach’ and the ‘ecosystem approach’, are being implemented to address this problem. However, considerable thought needs to go into project design and implementation how to be sure to achieve successful conservation and development outcomes. Existing evidence suggests that such projects should:

  1. be implemented at multiple scales;

  2. address the problem of trade-offs by quantifying them, providing platforms for multi-stakeholder negotiations and using instruments such as payments for environmental services (PES);

  3. pay greater attention to organisational and institutional aspects during implementation;

  4. give greater weight to extra-sectoral and non-local drivers of change;

  5. use adaptive management (=social learning approaches); and

  6. mainstream participatory action approaches. The combination, sequence, timing, form and quality of interventions at the various scales will be important in influencing outcomes.

CIFOR and our partners working on this theme are interested in uncovering the circumstances in which it is possible to reconcile conservation and development objectives in forested landscapes, particularly at the ecosystem or landscape level. What needs to be done to create the appropriate conditions in this regard? Our research is aimed at identifying win-win situations, the circumstances that give rise to them, and how these might be replicated.


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