A reality check on the landscape approach to REDD+: Lessons from Latin America

M.G. Bastos Lima, I.J. Visseren-Hamakers*, J. Braña-Varela, A. Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Developing and institutionalizing cross-sectoral approaches to sustainable land use remains a crucial, yet politically contested, objective in global sustainability governance. There is a widely acknowledged need for more integrated
approaches to sustainable land use that reconcile multiple landscape functions, sectors and stakeholders. However, this faces a number of challenges in practice, including the lack of policy coherence and institutional conflicts across agricultural and forest sectors. In this context, the global climate change mitigation mechanismof “reducing emissions fromdeforestation and forest degradation” (REDD+) has been flagged as a unique opportunity to stimulate the development and institutionalization of more integrated, “landscape” approaches
to sustainable land use. In this article, we provide a reality check for the prospects of REDD+to deliver on this promise, through analyzing three pioneer cases of REDD+ development and implementation in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico. We analyze how REDD+ has operated in each of these three contexts, based on field work, key-informant interviews, and analysis of primary and secondary documents. Our findings suggest that REDD+has stimulated development of “niche” sustainable land-use investments in each case, which aim to integrate
forest conservation and agricultural development goals, but has done so while competing with businessas-usual incentives. We conclude that national and international political commitment to more integrated and sustainable land-use approaches is a precondition for, rather than a result of, transformative REDD+
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-20
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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