A recent article from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) presents the complexity of the land use choice between multi-functional agro-ecosystems and agricultural intensification plus land preservation. Traditionally, there has been little or no middle ground between the dichotomous “land sharing” and “land sparing” camps. But this article proposes that the issue is not so black-and-white. A recent study of oil palm plantations in the Peruvian Amazon demonstrated that intensive industrial practices can still lead to agricultural expansion, and that land tenure and rights may have more impact on the clearing of old growth forests. In fact, the land put under cultivation in the smallholder setting was previously farmed land and not primary forest. So, it seems the drivers behind clear-cutting may not be so clear-cut after all. And multifunctional landscapes may find their way into more of the conservation conversations.
About the Landscapes BlogThe Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative is an international collaborative effort to support and scale-up the practice of whole landscape approaches to address the full set of needs from the rural land base – from sustainable, climate-resilient food and fiber production to biodiversity conservation to rural livelihoods. As part of this Initiative, the Landscapes Blog serves as a venue to learn about, share, and discuss topics related to landscape approaches. It seeks to engage leaders in the field, highlight research, present examples of landscape approaches in practice, and contribute to the discussions during major international events and policy processes.