Criteria and indicators to audit the performance of complex, multi-functional forest landscapes

Authored by: Dwi Amalia Sari , Chris Margules , Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono , Jeffrey Sayer

Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138674769
eBook ISBN: 9781315561103
Adobe ISBN:


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The landscape is a widely preferred scale for initiatives that seek to balance development and conservation. Governments, aid donors, NGOs and the corporate sector are all attempting to reconcile economic development and environmental conservation actions at this scale. New forms of polycentric and multi-level governance are emerging to operate at the landscape scale. By definition these initiatives are seeking to deal with the conflicting goals of diverse stakeholders – they are often a way of addressing wicked problems. Most assessment systems to date have aimed to verify compliance with social and environmental safeguards. However since these integrated approaches now command significant government, corporate and aid agency investments it will be necessary to go beyond compliance and audit the full range of benefit flows that they generate for society. Landscape approaches are effectively being asked to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals in a defined area. We discuss the challenges of developing performance metrics for these complex and uncertain endeavours. We propose that outcome metrics will differ for all situations and that generalisable indicators will rarely be available. However process indicators will be valuable in confirming best practice and the deployment of appropriate process indicators should ensure that measurable outcome indicators will be identified. Adaptive management will be required. Process indicators will have to be used to inform reflection and learning so that outcome indicators can be continuously updated to deal with changing conditions.

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