Lessons from Acre State (Brazil), Ecuador, and the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico)
Unsustainable land-use patterns in the world’s tropics have led to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and contributed with nearly a quarter (24%) of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions that cause global climate change. Half of those emissions stem from deforestation and forest degradation, the other half from agriculture and livestock farming. The two halves, however, are intimately intertwined, as agriculture is a major driver of deforestation. Conventional policy approaches have treated agriculture and forest conservation separately, but a more comprehensive “landscape approach” is emerging, together with REDD+ programs that go beyond project-level to encompass entire jurisdictions.
This research has set out to investigate how a landscape approach to reconcile forest conservation and agricultural production is being tried in jurisdictional REDD+ experiences across Latin America. The research is based on an extensive literature review, policy reviews, document analysis, and 39 key-informant interviews in Brazil (Acre State), Ecuador, and Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula). I analyze the key challenges faced, the policy instruments utilized, governance arrangements for such a landscape approach, and how REDD+ is being strategically used to strengthen it.