Sustainability Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 465–476 | Cite as

Measuring the effectiveness of landscape approaches to conservation and development

  • Jeffrey A. Sayer
  • Chris Margules
  • Agni K. Boedhihartono
  • Terry Sunderland
  • James D. Langston
  • James Reed
  • Rebecca Riggs
  • Louise E. Buck
  • Bruce M. Campbell
  • Koen Kusters
  • Chris Elliott
  • Peter A. Minang
  • Allan Dale
  • Herry Purnomo
  • James R. Stevenson
  • Petrus Gunarso
  • Agus Purnomo
Overview Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Concepts, Methodology, and Knowledge Management for Sustainability Science


Landscape approaches attempt to achieve balance amongst multiple goals over long time periods and to adapt to changing conditions. We review project reports and the literature on integrated landscape approaches, and found a lack of documented studies of their long-term effectiveness. The combination of multiple and potentially changing goals presents problems for the conventional measures of impact. We propose more critical use of theories of change and measures of process and progress to complement the conventional impact assessments. Theories of change make the links between project deliverables, outputs, outcomes, and impacts explicit, and allow a full exploration of the landscape context. Landscape approaches are long-term engagements, but short-term process metrics are needed to confirm that progress is being made in negotiation of goals, meaningful stakeholder engagement, existence of connections to policy processes, and effectiveness of governance. Long-term impact metrics are needed to assess progress on achieving landscapes that deliver multiple societal benefits, including conservation, production, and livelihood benefits. Generic criteria for process are proposed, but impact metrics will be highly situation specific and must be derived from an effective process and a credible theory of change.


Conservation and development Conservation impact assessment Conservation theories of change Biodiversity-development trade-offs Integrated landscape approaches to conservation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Sayer
    • 1
  • Chris Margules
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agni K. Boedhihartono
    • 1
  • Terry Sunderland
    • 3
  • James D. Langston
    • 1
  • James Reed
    • 3
  • Rebecca Riggs
    • 1
  • Louise E. Buck
    • 4
  • Bruce M. Campbell
    • 5
    • 6
  • Koen Kusters
    • 7
  • Chris Elliott
    • 8
  • Peter A. Minang
    • 9
  • Allan Dale
    • 1
  • Herry Purnomo
    • 3
    • 10
  • James R. Stevenson
    • 11
  • Petrus Gunarso
    • 12
  • Agus Purnomo
    • 13
  1. 1.Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences James Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.Research Center for Climate Change University of IndonesiaDepokIndonesia
  3. 3.Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)Bogor BaratIndonesia
  4. 4.EcoAgriculture Partners and Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS)University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  6. 6.International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)CaliColombia
  7. 7.Wereld in Woorden–Global Research and ReportingAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)San FranciscoUSA
  9. 9.ASB-Partnerships for the Tropical Forest Margins, World Agroforestry CentreNairobiKenya
  10. 10.Faculty of Forestry Bogor Agricultural UniversityBogorIndonesia
  11. 11.CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat, FAORomeItaly
  12. 12.Indonesian Forestry Scholars Association-PERSAKI, PT RAPP APRILJakartaIndonesia
  13. 13.Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART)JakartaIndonesia

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