Toward Inclusive Landscape Governance in Contested Landscapes : Exploring the Contribution of Participatory Tools in the Upper Suriname River Basin

Best, Lisa; Fung-Loy, Kimberley; Ilahibaks, Nafiesa; Ramirez-Gomez, Sara O.I.; Speelman, Erika N.


Nowadays, tropical forest landscapes are commonly characterized by a multitude of interacting institutions and actors with competing land-use interests. In these settings, indigenous and tribal communities are often marginalized in landscape-level decision making. Inclusive landscape governance inherently integrates diverse knowledge systems, including those of indigenous and tribal communities. Increasingly, geo-information tools are recognized as appropriate tools to integrate diverse interests and legitimize the voices, values, and knowledge of indigenous and tribal communities in landscape governance. In this paper, we present the contribution of the integrated application of three participatory geo-information tools to inclusive landscape governance in the Upper Suriname River Basin in Suriname: (i) Participatory 3-Dimensional Modelling, (ii) the Trade-off! game, and (iii) participatory scenario planning. The participatory 3-dimensional modelling enabled easy participation of community members, documentation of traditional, tacit knowledge and social learning. The Trade-off! game stimulated capacity building and understanding of land-use trade-offs. The participatory scenario planning exercise helped landscape actors to reflect on their own and others’ desired futures while building consensus. Our results emphasize the importance of systematically considering tool attributes and key factors, such as facilitation, for participatory geo-information tools to be optimally used and fit with local contexts. The results also show how combining the tools helped to build momentum and led to diverse yet complementary insights, thereby demonstrating the benefits of integrating multiple tools to address inclusive landscape governance issues.