South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are two regions of the world with the highest concentration of nutritionally vulnerable populations that depend to a large extent on agriculture as an important source of livelihood (Gillespie et al., 2015). The vast majority of farmers in these regions have small landholdings due to land fragmentation (Jayne et al., 2014; Valbuena et al., 2015) and are often constrained in their access to resources and agricultural inputs (Herrero et al., 2010), especially women (e.g., Cole et al., 2015). As a consequence, productivity levels are low, and because income sources are also limited, dependence on surrounding landscapes and ecosystem services is high in terms of safeguarding supplies of clean water, human and animal foods, construction materials and fuel wood. People shape their physical landscapes (Ellis, 2015), influenced by cultures, values and livelihood opportunities (Horlings, 2015). People’s utilization of their physical landscapes is shaped by various conditions such as soil properties, topography, climate and flooding patterns. People’s dependence on their physical landscapes is strong and expected to increase due to climate change, resulting in gradual but persistent changes including adjustments in frequency, timing and severity of anomalies such as droughts and floods (Naylor et al., 2007; Gornall et al., 2010).