Good governance: A framework for implementing sustainable land management, applied to an agricultural case in Northeast-Brazil

Verena Rodorff*, Marianna Siegmund-Schultze, Maike Guschal, Sonja Hölzl, Johann Köppel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Land management needs to cope with persistent environmental and societal changes. This requires functional governance systems. The purpose of this research is to develop a good governance framework for the implementation of sustainable land management. Good governance theory is extensive, although its operationalization remains difficult. We derived a set of good governance attributes from the literature: (i) the functionality of the regulatory framework, (ii) the legitimacy and accountability of the actors, (iii) the fairness and transparency of the decision-making processes, and (iv) quality control and adaptiveness. These constitute a framework which, supported by guiding questions, facilitates the evaluation of governance attributes to assess sustainable land management practices. We applied the scheme to a case study in Northeast Brazil regarding sustainable land management where biological pest control is considered to be a biodiversity-related ecosystem service. Since its adoption often falls short of expectations, we scrutinized its governance system. First, experts answered our guiding questions, and second, we involved local stakeholders in the discussion of good governance attributes through the participatory approach of constellation analysis. Trust in agricultural consultants and issues of the practical application of pest control turned out to be crucial. The workshop participants requested a model farm to build more trust and experience. There was considerable demand for policy at the national planning level to formulate and monitor the content of the agricultural advisory program. Our conceptualized framework of good governance questions provides systematization for planning and steering the implementation of sustainable land management practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4303
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological pest control
  • Brazil
  • Constellation analysis
  • Good governance
  • Irrigated agriculture
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Sustainable land management

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