Special Issue "Collaboration and Multi-Stakeholder Engagement in Landscape Governance and Management in Africa: Lessons from Practice"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sheona Shackleton
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Guest Editor
African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
Interests: vulnerability; climate change adaptation; ecosystem services; landscape and livelihood change; transdisciplinarity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Nicola Favretto
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Guest Editor
School of Earth and Environment, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
Interests: sustainable land management and rural development; climate change mitigation and adaptation; sustainable energy
Prof. Chris Gordon
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Guest Editor
Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Interests: transdisciplinary research; research into use; integrated water management; SDG linkages; adaptation
Dr. Nadine Methner
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Guest Editor
African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
Interests: ecosystem-based climate change adaptation; transdisciplinarity; inclusive landscape approaches; multi-level governance and collective action; transformation
Dr. George Outa
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Guest Editor
University of Nairobi, Institute of Climate Change and Adaptation P.O Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Interests: governance issues; communication and advocacy; legal and regulatory aspects of environment and climate change
Dr. Phosiso Sola
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Guest Editor
Impact Acceleration & Learning: World Agroforestry (ICRAF), United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya
Interests: natural resource governance; climate resilience; value chains; gender; bioenergy
Dr. Susannah M. Sallu
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Guest Editor
Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
Interests: rural livelihoods; vulnerability and resilience; climate change and development
Ms. Likho Sikutshwa
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Guest Editor
African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
Interests: climate change adaptation; ecosystem services; biodiversity; conservation; ecology; landscapes and livelihood change
Ms. Portia Adade Williams
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Guest Editor
CSIR—Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Ghana
Interests: livelihood vulnerability; climate change adaptation; socioeconomic studies; agriculture and rural development; research and policy linkage

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Understanding the social and environmental impacts of multiple drivers of global and local change in Africa requires systemic and longitudinal place-based research. Landscapes provide the ‘ideal’ unit for this purpose, as well as for applying sustainable solutions that tackle complex—sometimes wicked—development and environmental challenges. Through a landscape approach, it is possible to explore the interaction between multiple sustainable development goals (SDGs), enabling understanding of the impacts of change and risk on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and livelihoods, as well as the implementation of locally appropriate and integrated response options. Indeed, landscape approaches have been widely promoted by government agencies, NGOs, and conservation organisations as a way for realising new pathways towards a more resilient future (e.g., https://peoplefoodandnature.org/about/). Synthesis work drawing on research from different landscape sites has helped to distil out a set of principles or conditions required for successful integrated, cross-scale landscape governance and management. A key condition that has received much emphasis is the need for stakeholder engagement and collaboration across the landscape.

Collaborative and multi-stakeholder governance and management of landscapes has the potential to promote the inclusion of marginalised voices, ensure appropriate actions and responses aligned to local concerns and needs, as well as bring frequently disconnected actors, sectors, and government institutions together in pursuit of the common goal of increased landscape resilience and sustainability. Moreover, meaningful collaboration that is accountable, inclusive, transparent, and legitimate can improve the chances that such partnerships will continue to function into the future. However, there is no single way to achieve effective collaboration. Different landscape projects have experimented with different entry points and engagement processes. This Special Issue aims to document these processes for engagement and collaboration, explore what has worked or not worked, identify what could be done better, and provide recommendations with the ultimate aim of providing practical guidelines for other landscape sites.

We invite contributors to develop case studies from their landscape sites that address (amongst others) a) how they began engaging with landscape actors and the approaches and tools they used for this, b) how they dealt with the challenges and power issues associated with bringing together landscape actors with different values and goals, c) how they facilitated knowledge co-production and how actions in the landscape were initiated, d) how they ensured ongoing collaboration, and f) what important lessons (including failures) have emerged, and what recommendations would they make for others working in landscapes. We also invite papers that synthesise findings on collaboration from multiple cases and/or deal with the theoretical aspects of what enables or constrains effective collaboration to build resilience in landscapes and livelihoods in Africa.

Authors who are interested in this Special Issue should submit abstracts (300 words) to [email protected] by 30 November 2019. These abstracts will be reviewed by co-editors and invitations made for the submission of full manuscripts.

Prof. Sheona Shackleton
Dr. Nicola Favretto
Prof. Chris Gordon
Dr. Nadine Methner
Dr. George Outa
Dr. Phosiso Sola
Dr. Susannah M. Sallu
Ms. Likho Sikutshwa
Ms. Portia Adade Williams
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • landscape approaches
  • landscape governance
  • landscape management
  • stakeholder engagement
  • collaboration
  • case studies
  • Africa

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Protected Area Governance and Its Influence on Local Perceptions, Attitudes and Collaboration
Land 2020, 9(9), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090310 - 02 Sep 2020
Abstract
Globally, protected areas are faced with a myriad of threats emanating principally from anthropogenic drivers, which underpins the importance of the human element in protected area management. Delving into the “exclusive” and “inclusive” approaches to nature conservation discourse, this study explored the extent [...] Read more.
Globally, protected areas are faced with a myriad of threats emanating principally from anthropogenic drivers, which underpins the importance of the human element in protected area management. Delving into the “exclusive” and “inclusive” approaches to nature conservation discourse, this study explored the extent to which local communities collaborate in the management of protected areas and how the governance regime of these areas influences local perceptions and attitudes. Data for the study were collected through stakeholder interviews, focus group discussions as well as a probe into participating groups’ collective perceptions and opinions on certain key issues. A total of 51 focus group discussions were held in 45 communities involving 630 participants. The analysis was done using qualitative methods and simple case counts to explain levels of acceptance or dislike of issues. The results showed that the objectives of state-managed protected areas, by their nature, tend to exclude humans and negatively influence local perceptions and attitudes. This, in addition to human-wildlife conflicts and high handedness by officials on protected area offenders, affects community collaboration. The study concluded that for protected area management to be effective, effort must be made to positively influence local perceptions and attitudes by promoting “win-win-win” partnerships among all stakeholders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Potential and Contribution of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa
Land 2020, 9(8), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080237 - 22 Jul 2020
Abstract
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserves strive for a harmonious interaction between humans and nature. As landscapes provide suitable units to mutually address matters of conservation and sustainable development, this study aims to explore the potential and realized contribution [...] Read more.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserves strive for a harmonious interaction between humans and nature. As landscapes provide suitable units to mutually address matters of conservation and sustainable development, this study aims to explore the potential and realized contribution of biosphere reserves for landscape governance and management. We emphasize the role of stakeholder participation and cooperation as an overarching condition for integrated landscape approaches. The regional focus is on Africa, where multiple drivers of global and local change currently significantly impact the landscape. The study’s results are based on a literature review, which is complemented by four case studies from the biosphere reserves in Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, and Benin/Togo. Findings show that in biosphere reserves, stakeholder engagement is crucial to gain community acceptance, foster intersectoral cooperation, and provide management with more legitimacy. To strengthen stakeholders’ capacities to mutually achieve conservation and development outcomes, international partnerships and research and education efforts proved to be successful. The flexible biosphere reserve approach to governance, which allows for integration with other land-management approaches, offers a suitable governance model for a landscape. Moreover, the biosphere reserve zonation concept can provide orientation to manage the “multifunctionality” of a landscape and address the associated trade-offs between different stakeholders’ aspirations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unpacking Changing Multi-Actor and Multi-Level Actor Ties in Transformative Spaces: Insights from a Degraded Landscape, Machubeni, South Africa
Land 2020, 9(7), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070227 - 13 Jul 2020
Abstract
The loss of ecosystem services through land degradation continues to be a significant concern for policymakers and land users around the world. Facilitating collective action among various actors is regarded as imperative in halting land degradation. Despite extensive research on collective action, there [...] Read more.
The loss of ecosystem services through land degradation continues to be a significant concern for policymakers and land users around the world. Facilitating collective action among various actors is regarded as imperative in halting land degradation. Despite extensive research on collective action, there have been few studies that continuously map social ties and detect network evolution as a way of enabling longitudinal analysis of transformative spaces. This paper seeks to examine the changing dynamics of multi-actor and multi-level actor ties over a period of two years in Machubeni, South Africa. To do this, we used social network analysis to detect continuities and/or discontinuities of multi-actor and multi-level actor ties over time. Overall, edge density, clustering coefficient, and reciprocity scores steadily increased over the two years despite a decline in the number of active organisations within the network. Our results demonstrate that the proportion of strong ties gradually increased over time across three governance networks. However, multi-level linkages between the local municipality and the local organisations remained weak due to a lack of trust and collaborative fatigue. While the transformative space has succeeded in enhancing collaboration and knowledge sharing between local organisations and researchers, further long-term engagement with government agencies might be necessary for promoting institutional transformations and policy outcomes, and building network resilience in complex polycentric governance systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Relational Approach to Landscape Stewardship: Towards a New Perspective for Multi-Actor Collaboration
Land 2020, 9(7), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070224 - 10 Jul 2020
Abstract
Landscape stewardship is increasingly understood within the framing of complex social-ecological systems. To consider the implications of this, we focus on one of the key characteristics of complex social-ecological systems: they are relationally constituted, meaning that system characteristics emerge out of dynamic relations [...] Read more.
Landscape stewardship is increasingly understood within the framing of complex social-ecological systems. To consider the implications of this, we focus on one of the key characteristics of complex social-ecological systems: they are relationally constituted, meaning that system characteristics emerge out of dynamic relations between system components. We focus on multi-actor collaboration as a key form of relationality in landscapes, seeking a more textured understanding of the social relations between landscape actors. We draw on a set of ‘gardening tools’ to analyse the boundary-crossing work of multi-actor collaboration. These tools comprise three key concepts: relational expertise, common knowledge, and relational agency. We apply the tools to two cases of landscape stewardship in South Africa: the Langkloof Region and the Tsitsa River catchment. These landscapes are characterised by economically, socio-culturally, and politically diverse groups of actors. Our analysis reveals that history and context strongly influence relational processes, that boundary-crossing work is indeed difficult, and that doing boundary-crossing work in smaller pockets within a landscape is helpful. The tools also helped to identify three key social-relational practices which lend a new perspective on boundary-crossing work: 1. belonging while differing, 2. growing together by interacting regularly and building common knowledge, and 3. learning and adapting together with humility and empathy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysing and Applying Stakeholder Perceptions to Improve Protected Area Governance in Ugandan Conservation Landscapes
Land 2020, 9(6), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060207 - 25 Jun 2020
Abstract
Given the diversity of active institutions and stakeholders in a landscape, and the difficulties in ensuring inclusive decision-making, evaluating landscape governance can help surface and address underlying issues. In the context of two protected area landscapes in Uganda, where landscape approaches are being [...] Read more.
Given the diversity of active institutions and stakeholders in a landscape, and the difficulties in ensuring inclusive decision-making, evaluating landscape governance can help surface and address underlying issues. In the context of two protected area landscapes in Uganda, where landscape approaches are being implemented through a wider project on landscape governance, we analyse stakeholder perceptions of inclusive decision-making and then use this evaluation to stimulate dialogue amongst stakeholder groups in each landscape. We ask, how can capturing, analysing, and collaboratively applying people’s perceptions address inclusive decision-making in landscape governance? We collected and analysed perceptions using SenseMaker®, a software package that enables analysis of micronarratives (stories) from the field based on how respondents classify their own stories, using triads, dyads, stones, and multiple-choice questions. This self-categorisation by the respondent reduces bias in the analysis and allows the micronarrative to be cross-examined in a variety of ways when analysed using Sensemaker. This analysis created an integrated view of the stakeholder’s perceptions about inclusive decision-making in landscape governance. The results show large portions of the respondents feel their voices are neglected, and management of the landscape is poor in Mount Elgon, while in Agoro-Agu, it is the opposite trend. During a community feedback process, reasons for these trends were discussed and solutions proposed. Some of the underlying factors include historical relationships with park authorities and displacement during park creation. To more precisely answer our research question, one could have extended stays in the communities studied in these landscapes, using ethnographic methods including interviews and participant observation; nonetheless, our method, including the feedback process, was an innovative and important way to confront our findings with the informants directly and foster collaborative action. We conclude that understanding people’s perceptions, including through participatory feedback, can significantly inform and improve management decisions, help resolve conflicts, and facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in the landscape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Steering Energy Transitions through Landscape Governance: Case of Mathare Informal Settlement, Nairobi, Kenya
Land 2020, 9(6), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060206 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
Poor households in urban informal settlements face a big challenge in accessing clean energy for cooking, heating, and lighting. We use Kenya’s Mathare informal settlement as a landscape site to better understand how cross-sector collaboration can enhance access to sustainable energy in informal [...] Read more.
Poor households in urban informal settlements face a big challenge in accessing clean energy for cooking, heating, and lighting. We use Kenya’s Mathare informal settlement as a landscape site to better understand how cross-sector collaboration can enhance access to sustainable energy in informal settlements. We also demonstrate that academics are well-placed in facilitating multi-stakeholder engagements between community members, experts, and policy actors. This is pursued by drawing on the results of two energy research projects (CoDEC and AfriCLP). We employ a landscape governance framework to re-conceptualise the findings from the CoDEC and AfriCLP projects. Specifically, we use the ecological, socio-cultural, and political dimensions of landscape governance to discuss the relationships between energy demands and other landscape issues in the case study. In conclusion, the paper recommends landscape governance as a promising approach for integrating energy issues with other competing landscape interests, while also encouraging cross-sector collaboration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Delivering Climate-Development Co-Benefits through Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Projects in Madagascar: Opportunities and Challenges
Land 2020, 9(5), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050157 - 18 May 2020
Abstract
This paper explores multi-stakeholder perspectives on the extent to which forestry projects that pursue ecological restoration and rehabilitation in Madagascar engage with local communities and can co-deliver climate-development benefits. Drawing on mixed methods (policy analysis, semi-structured interviews, participatory site visits and focus groups) [...] Read more.
This paper explores multi-stakeholder perspectives on the extent to which forestry projects that pursue ecological restoration and rehabilitation in Madagascar engage with local communities and can co-deliver climate-development benefits. Drawing on mixed methods (policy analysis, semi-structured interviews, participatory site visits and focus groups) in two different forestry contexts, we show that by strengthening access to capital availability, projects can enhance local adaptive capacity and mitigation and deliver local development. We show that active consideration of ecological conservation and action plans early in project design and implementation can co-develop and support monitoring and reporting systems, needed to progress towards integrated climate-compatible development approaches. Climate mitigation benefits remain poorly quantified due to limited interest in, and low capacity to generate, carbon revenues. Monitoring alone does not ensure carbon benefits will materialize, and this research stresses that institutional considerations and strengthened engagement and cooperation between practitioners and communities are key in achieving both climate mitigation and community development impacts. Multiple benefits can be fostered by aligning objectives of multiple landscape actors (i.e., community needs and project developers) and by systematically linking project deliverables, outputs, outcomes and impacts over time, grounded in a theory of change focused on ensuring community buy-in and planning for delivery of tangible benefits. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Inclusive Landscape Governance for Sustainable Development: Assessment Methodology and Lessons for Civil Society Organizations
Land 2020, 9(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9040128 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Landscape governance refers to the combination of rules and decision-making processes of civic, private, and public actors with stakes in the landscape, that together shape the future of that landscape. As part of the Green Livelihoods Alliance, a program that supports civil society [...] Read more.
Landscape governance refers to the combination of rules and decision-making processes of civic, private, and public actors with stakes in the landscape, that together shape the future of that landscape. As part of the Green Livelihoods Alliance, a program that supports civil society organizations (CSOs) to strengthen the governance of tropical forested landscapes, we developed and implemented a method that facilitates stakeholders to assess the status of governance in their own landscape and to identify options for improvement. In this article, we aim to reflect on landscape governance, based on our work within the Green Livelihoods Alliance. We present the method, summarize the results of its implementation, and draw practical lessons regarding the role of CSOs to improve landscape governance. We conducted workshops with stakeholders in 17 forested landscapes across 10 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. During each workshop, participants scored and discussed a set of governance indicators, developed a common vision for landscape governance, and identified the practical steps that would need to be taken to achieve that vision. Analyzing the results from the workshops, we found that landscape stakeholders tend to perceive that: opportunities to influence decision-making are unequal; integrated landscape planning efforts remain noncommittal; and implementation and enforcement of regulations is weak. To improve governance in the future, it is common to call for the development of multi-stakeholder processes, to allow different actors to discuss, negotiate, and develop collaborative action to address landscape-level challenges. CSOs can support such processes, by helping to develop a shared understanding of landscape governance, differences in interests, and possibilities for collaborative action. CSOs can also help stakeholders to develop multi-stakeholder procedures, and build trust and capacity among stakeholders to take an active role in such processes. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview
Acknowledging Indigenous and Local Knowledge to Facilitate Collaboration in Landscape Approaches—Lessons from a Systematic Review
Land 2020, 9(9), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090331 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
The need to recognize diverse actors, their knowledge and values is being widely promoted as critical for sustainability in contemporary land use, natural resource management and conservation initiatives. However, in much of the case study literature, the value of including indigenous and local [...] Read more.
The need to recognize diverse actors, their knowledge and values is being widely promoted as critical for sustainability in contemporary land use, natural resource management and conservation initiatives. However, in much of the case study literature, the value of including indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) in the management and governance of landscapes tends to be overlooked and undervalued. Understanding ILK as comprising indigenous, local and traditional knowledge, this systematic review synthesizes how ILK has been viewed and incorporated into landscape-based studies; what processes, mechanisms and areas of focus have been used to integrate it; and the challenges and opportunities that arise in doing so. Queries from bibliographic databases (Web of Science, JSTOR, Scopus and Africa Wide) were employed. Findings from the review underscore that the literature and case studies that link landscapes and ILK are dominated by a focus on agricultural systems, followed by social-ecological systems, indigenous governance, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and climate change studies, especially those related to early warning systems for disaster risk reduction. The growing importance of multi-stakeholder collaborations in local landscape research and the promotion of inclusive consultations have helped to bring ILK to the fore in the knowledge development process. This, in turn, has helped to support improved landscape management, governance and planning for more resilient landscapes. However, more research is needed to explore ways to more effectively link ILK and scientific knowledge in landscape studies, particularly in the co-management of these social-ecological systems. More studies that confirm the usefulness of ILK, recognize multiple landscape values and their interaction with structures and policies dealing with landscape management and conservation are necessary for enhanced sustainability. Full article
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