Landscape observation

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Landscape observation

Landscapes change under the influence and interaction of multiple factors and drivers. These need to be properly identified, monitored and understood — both their underlying causes and their economic and social implications — in order to mitigate negative impacts on the environment and livelihoods, communities and households, and to harness potential benefits. This requires a comprehensive set of information and data on economic, social and environmental dimensions which is geo-referenced, gender disaggregated, and followed through time.

In most developing countries, data on land-use change, its extent, drivers and consequences is non-existent and, where available, is often partial and not continuous. This makes it difficult to have reliable indicators to guide effective action of different stakeholders in a landscape when it comes to deciding on land-use and land-management choices and related investments, and to monitoring progress.

This cluster sets out to mitigate this challenge through a study of the patterns and extent of land-use changes in selected landscapes. It will identify a set of potential landscapes, facilitate colocation of initiatives over time (building on the current portfolio of colocated projects) and jointly develop trans- and multidisciplinary data collection efforts in these landscapes to enable analysis and understanding of drivers, patterns, consequences and responses. The set of selected landscapes will aim to represent a range of pan-tropical agroecological biodiverse contexts.

Data collected through any joint efforts will provide indicators and feed into other FTA analysis of, for example, actual tree cover change, trends over time, predictions of future scenarios, and advanced knowledge on effective land-use management intervention strategies.

In Africa, Latin America and Asia, millions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods and resilience. Moreover, millions of hectares of self-sustaining forest can be established on degraded lands. FTA data and evidence seek to inform practices and policies that can leverage this potential.

Countries need data and indicators to monitor sustainable development initiatives at the local and national levels. Research results of this work will be used to evaluate sustainable development goal (SDG) performance and offer guidance on necessary adjustments to the means of implementation. The evidence will further inform donors and development partners on where to focus their support for multiple impacts across landscapes and to help achieve multiple SDGs.

Some key related research activities include:
Devising methods to orient FTA’s place-based research so that it can be relevant to a multiplicity of different contexts and enable the generation of international public goods, such as by defining extrapolation domains, in particular those based on the representativeness of FTA’s portfolio of sentinel landscapes;
Facilitation of the colocation of projects around the portfolio of sentinel landscapes and joint data collection on a number of agreed areas, creating roles for local partners;
Scenario studies and participatory development planning results within the sentinel landscapes set-up, aligned with national goals and international commitments, including the Aichi targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) modalities.

Based on the above, decision support tools are needed for sites and objectives for the restoration of forests, at the landscape and local scales, tested and adopted in a set of priority countries.

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