MSc colloquium by Jara Bakx: ‘Scale Challenges in the Translation of Landscape Restoration Strategies to Local Realities'

Published on
September 4, 2020

The case of FORAGUA in Southern Ecuador

You are hereby cordially invited to the MSc thesis presentation by Jara Bakx entitled ‘Scale Challenges in the Translation of Landscape Restoration Strategies to Local Realities. The case of FORAGUA in Southern Ecuador’.

- Art Dewulf (PAP)
- Pieter van Oel (WRM)
- Daniel Wiegant (PAP)

- Katrien Termeer (PAP)

Date: 4 September 2020
Time: 14.00 hours

MS Teams link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

Title: The relation between the Dutch and European discourse on migration

Sub-title: On the extent to which the Dutch hegemonic discourse on migration challenges or supports the harmonization of European migration policy via the proposed migration policy reform of the European Union


As a result of deforestation and soil degradation, Southern Ecuador is struggling with problems of water quality and quantity and is unable to meet demands for human consumption and agriculture. The complexity of managing landscape degradation, and its impact on ecosystems, human well-being, and land-use practices, require the translation of globally set landscape restoration objectives to tangible interventions for local institutions. To provide sustainable financing and link multiple governance levels for the restoration and protection of the hydrological services of watersheds, the regional water fund FORAGUA was created in 2009 by five municipalities and one NGO. This thesis provides a better understanding of the scale challenges FORAGUA experiences in its attempt to translate its landscape restoration strategies to local realities, as well as of how the water fund and its constituents attempt to cope with these scale challenge. Moreover, this thesis recognises the problematic relationship between contemporary landscape restoration objectives and livelihood targets and thus aims to contribute to the debate on the impact of landscape restoration activities on the livelihoods of rural landowners.

Through the conducting of 39 semi-structured interviews with 47 respondents, more than three months of participatory observation in Ecuador, and the reviewing of primary documents and literature, the following four scale challenges were identified: (i) the temporal mismatch between the political electoral cycle and landscape restoration timeline, (ii) the spatial mismatch between the spatial reach of FORAGUA’s executing governance arrangement and landscape restoration, (iii) the failure to recognise plurality in the spatial dimensions of landscape restoration efforts, and (iv) the blind spot of FORAGUA and its constituents towards the livelihood realities on the household level. Moreover, this thesis distinguished five scale-sensitive governance action strategies the water fund and its partners employ to deal with such scale challenges: (a) attempts at financial diversification, (b) the installation of an automatic transfer of municipal environmental tax revenues, (c) the shift of national institutions to setting specific water conservation and restoration targets, (d) the attempts of FORAGUA to strengthen its position as a boundary organisation, and (e) the development of a new landscape restoration strategy aimed at setting up a sustainable production company.

Key words: Landscape restoration governance, Water fund, Cross-scale theory, Scale challenges, Scale-sensitive governance, Rural livelihoods.