This article explores diverse emerging conceptualisations of “landscape” approaches to ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’ and related activities (REDD +) that are discernible in a growing body of academic literature and policy practice. Landscape approaches to REDD + are assumed to be better able to tackle direct and indirect drivers of deforestation, particularly those that lie outside the forest sector. In assessing this promise, our paper has a two-fold objective: first, to develop a typology of landscape approaches to REDD + discernible in the literature; and second, to assess which approach might be ascendant in the particular context of Madagascar, and whether it has the potential to address direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and forest degradation here. Our analysis of the burgeoning REDD + landscape literature yields a typology of landscape approaches, which we characterise here as economic, political and ecological. In assessing which of these approaches is discernible in Madagascar, we find that an ecological conceptualisation has emerged. While such an approach shows some promise in addressing drivers, in comparison to previous integrated conservation and development approaches (ICDP) that pre-date REDD +, it is nonetheless still limited in its ability to do so. Hurdles include lack of inter-sectoral coordination and national-level political support for combating deforestation, as well as lack of community engagement in multilevel political processes. We conclude by highlighting the promise and limitations of pursuing a landscape approach to REDD + in Madagascar, and the relevance of our analysis for other REDD + countries wherein an ecological landscape approach might be considered.