Re-integrating ecology into integrated landscape approaches

James Reed, Koen Kusters, Jos Barlow, Michael Balinga, Joli Rumi Borah, Rachel Carmenta, Colas Chervier, Houria Djoudi, Davison Gumbo, Yves Laumonier, Kaala B. Moombe, Elizabeth L. Yuliani, Terry Sunderland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Context: Integrated landscape approaches (ILAs) that aim to balance conservation and development targets are increasingly promoted through science, policy, and the donor community. Advocates suggest that ILAs are viable implementing pathways for addressing global challenges such as biodiversity loss, poverty alleviation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, we argue that recent advances in ILA research and discourse have tended to emphasize the social and governance dimensions, while overlooking ecological factors and inadequately considering potential trade-offs between the two fields. Objectives: By raising the issue of inadequate integration of ecology in ILAs and providing some general design suggestions, we aim to support and incentivise better design and practice of ILAs, supplementing existing design principles. Methods: In this perspective we draw on the recent literature and our collective experience to highlight the need, and the means, to re-integrate ecology into landscape approaches. Results: We suggest that better incorporation of the ecological dimension requires the integration of two approaches: one focusing on conventional scientific studies of biodiversity and biophysical parameters; and the other focusing on the engagement of relevant stakeholders using various participatory methods. We provide some general guidelines for how these approaches can be incorporated within ILA design and implementation. Conclusion: Re-integrating ecology into ILAs will not only improve ecological understanding (and related objectives, plans and monitoring), but will also generate insights into local and traditional knowledge, encourage transdisciplinary enquiry and reveal important conservation-development trade-offs and synergies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2395–2407
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number8
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Convention on biological diversity
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Landscape approaches
  • Landscape ecology
  • Social-ecological systems

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