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Do integrated landscape approaches moderate climate impacts on livelihoods? A review of the evidence from agricultural landscapes

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Integrated landscape approaches (ILA) are being utilised to address issues at the intersection of rural development, conservation, and increasingly climate change adaptation. We undertook a systematic literature review to assess which facets of ILA provide climate resilience, the quality of the evidence base used to undertake such assessments, and which analytical approaches were used. We reviewed in detail 386 studies. We found 16 peer-reviewed studies presenting 48 cases of ILA-livelihood-climate interactions that analysed the climate moderating effect of ILA. With such a small sample, discerning a reliable signal of climate resilience from ILA or from facets of ILA is challenging. Most studies focused on the plot or farm level as opposed to higher or multiple spatial scales. This is at odds with the holistic notion of ILA which emphasises the multi-scalar nature of landscapes and their constituent human and environmental systems. However, we highlight the potential for combining the results of multiple individual studies that focus on facets of ILA to detect if a signal of ILA driven climate resilience exists. Only one study focused on how multi-stakeholder governance and institutional arrangements affect climate resilience. This omission within the evidence base precludes empirically grounded insights into the mechanisms through which different governance and institutional arrangements within ILA influence climate response capacity.

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  1. A record of current or completed ILA initiatives can be accessed via the Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature website:


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The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments.


This research was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR; grant number ASEM/2016/030).

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Correspondence to John M. A. Duncan.

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Communicated by James Ford

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Duncan, J.M.A., Boruff, B., Biggs, E.M. et al. Do integrated landscape approaches moderate climate impacts on livelihoods? A review of the evidence from agricultural landscapes. Reg Environ Change 21, 25 (2021).

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