ESPA at the Global Landscapes Forum
The Global Landscapes Forum is the world’s largest science-led multi-sectoral platform for integrated land use.
Throughout the two days of this important event in Bonn, Germany, we exhibited and talked about ESPA research on land use intensification, protected areas management, biofuel production, and the links to poverty.
Messages from ESPA research:
1. The outcomes of land use intensification in low and middle income countries. ESPA research shows that land use intensification efforts rarely achieve the twin objectives of alleviating poverty and protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services. There are typically complex trade-offs, generally involving losses to ecosystem services that allow some groups to benefit from land use change while others (for example downstream users or future users) find their livelihoods undermined. The message is: we need to re-assess how we think about and evaluate sustainable’ intensification of land use, especially in the next three years. Cutting edge ESPA research findings speak directly to the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and hunger and to bring about sustainable land management.
2. The impact of biofuel production on human wellbeing. Countries are turning to biofuel production in their efforts to source lower-carbon fuels to tackle climate change – and often, with the hope that these new crops can contribute to rural development. ESPA brought to the GLF its newly published research findings from Malawi, which cast new light on these hopes and encourage policy-makers to look at the local wellbeing and livelihoods possibilities of biofuel production more closely. Research has found – for instance – that poverty alleviation and food security outcomes for those involved in the sugarcane sector vary but appear largely positive. Land use conversion for sugarcane production can have positive or negative environmental impacts. Jatropha production is shown in the study areas to have minimal impact on food security and poverty alleviation, either positive or negative. The low impact of jatropha is unlikely to change unless high-yielding jatropha varieties are tested in real conditions and market options improve. GLF participants can learn how ESPA measured the multiple dimensions of human wellbeing in areas of large-scale sugarcane and jatropha production and interrogate what these results imply for their countries and contexts.
3. How communities and Protected Area managers can work toward ‘win win’ solutions for people and wildlife. Drawing on new and original research from Tanzania’s Community Wildlife Management Areas (CWMAs) – ESPA presented findings on how such wildlife management areas can bring about their intended benefits: for people and wildlife. For their first two decades, Community Wildlife Management Areas have been characterised by land conflict, wildlife damage to people and crops, lack of tourism potential and high administration costs. But changing the revenue-sharing models could turn around the fortunes of the areas for the greater good. The growing pains for Tanzania’s Community Wildlife Management Areas present a microcosm of conflicts and potential solutions from which other countries can learn – we wanted to hear Global Landscapes Forum participants’ experiences for sharing on our blog and a conference ‘ideas board’ that we included on our stand.