As with all systems, forests do not exist in isolation. They affect and are affected by some of the world’s greatest challenges – poverty, climate change, food security and biodiversity – and are interconnected with surrounding land use such as farming and settlements. Despite this, decisions are often made in sectorial silos; an approach that has seen gains in some areas but at the expense of others.
In an effort to break down the barriers between sectors and bring together the different actors, industries and goals, research is investigating how to support and create sustainable landscapes. Instead of thinking about each component of a geographic area individually, a landscapes approach considers the mosaic of people, motivations, sectors and land-use jointly. In this way, people and their livelihoods are as important as environmental values, creating an opportunity to find cross-sectorial and locally adapted solutions.
CIFOR’s research contributes to the growing literature and policy recommendations on how to create and support sustainable landscapes, including research on governance and land rights. In particular, it aims to ensure that forests are valued as a fundamental component of those systems and that decisions about forests are made accordingly.