Context analysis: history, state and trends of the landscape

Before planning future actions, stakeholders need to understand the history, current state and (future) projections of resource and land use in the landscape. Analyzing the ecological conditions/ecosystem services, social structures and norms, cultural and spiritual beliefs, economic opportunities, legal and institutional frameworks, financial flows, and market dynamics helps stakeholders assess important trends in their landscapes. It can be especially useful to clarify spatial patterns, how different areas of the landscape have been affected by these trends.

Stakeholders need to be aware of the current state of the landscape and its natural resources: which are healthy and which are degrading, who is benefitting and who is hurting. They can also learn how different parts of the landscape interact, for example how upland soil and forest management affects water flow and quality downstream.

They also need to understand the main trends and drivers that are affecting agriculture and natural resource use and management in the landscape. Relevant issues may include land use change (e.g. agricultural expansion, urban development and resource extraction), socio-economic trends (e.g. main sources of income for different groups), demographic trends (e.g. migration patterns and population growth) and the local, regional and national governance context (e.g. local tenure arrangements and traditional decision-making authorities).

A context analysis is strengthened by soliciting information and types of analyses that different stakeholders in the LP consider to be important. Particular attention may be given to the concerns and interpretations of minority groups whose perspectives are less commonly reflected in academic studies or government reports.

Sources of information may include reports from routine monitoring by government agencies, studies by research organizations or NGOs, participatory assessments with farmers and other local practitioners, and structured workshops with stakeholders. In some places collecting information may be difficult: official government records may be hard to access, laws for access to information may not be in place or enforced, and capacity to request information from the state or to access online databases may be weak. In such cases, the LP can draw instead on the insights and reconstructed histories developed by focus groups including diverse individuals who have deep experience in the landscape.

The information collected can be shared with the LP in ways that can be easily understood and evaluated by the different stakeholder groups. Some might be comfortable to read through a narrative report, while others might prefer maps, statistical analytics, visual dashboards or stories.

Context analysis: history, state and trends of the landscape

Context analysis: history, state and trends of the landscape Tools

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Mapping Social Landscapes: A Guide to Identifying the Networks, Priorities, and Values of Restoration Actors

This guidebook (also mentioned in output 1.1) takes a new approach to environmental governance by focusing on identifying the social capital of actors within the landscapes. It centers on two main approaches: 1) mapping connectivity (the degree to which individuals and organizations are connected) and 2) mapping actors’ priorities and values (to reveal the cultural systems behind social networks). By using these two approaches together, LPs can develop a detailed picture of their social landscape which they can draw upon when devising strategies for change.

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Aqueduct Floods

  • Analytical

This tool (also mentioned in output 2.3) measures and maps water-related flood risks around the world. It evaluates current and future risks of riverine and coastal flooding, taking into account the impacts that socioeconomic growth and climate change will have. It also allows users to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses to evaluate the value of dike flood protection strategies.

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Crowther Lab

  • Analytical

This tool is an interactive map that allows users to explore various environmental and ecological layers. Each map layer in this tool represents the outputs from various models produced by the scientific community providing key data about our ecosystems. The data can be explored by either drawing a polygon around a specific landscape or selecting a country. Users can also compare layers to study correlations between different parameters.

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iSDAsoil

  • Analytical

This tool provides soil information at the scale of individual small farms across Africa. The information comes from maps generated at a resolution of 30 meters which encompass 24 billion unique locations across Africa.

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Kumu

  • Analytical

This tool makes it easy to organize data like stakeholder relationships, social networks, community assets, systems and concepts into relationship maps that effectively visualize their complexity and overlapping dynamics.

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Nature Map

  • Analytical

This tool is an integrated global map of biodiversity, carbon storage and other nature services designed to support decision making guided by environmental and climate targets. The tool offers freely available global maps of terrestrial biodiversity, carbon stocks and water supply and is designed to guide policies that address the biodiversity loss and climate change in an integrated manner.

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OpenLandMap

  • Analytical

This is an open source map displaying the world’s environmental data including land cover, vegetation, soil, climate, water, terrain and more. Within a web browser, users can explore the different map layers displaying various environmental themes across the globe and across time. All of the data is also freely available via download.

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Soils Revealed

  • Analytical

This is a platform (also mentioned in output 2.3) for visualizing how past and future management changes soil organic carbon stocks globally. The visualizations are based on soil data, information about the environment and computer simulations over time.

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Sustainable Landscapes Rating Tool

  • Analytical

This tool enables a rapid assessment of the key conditions for jurisdictional policies and governance that enable sustainable landscapes. It provides a snapshot of a jurisdiction’s capacity to establish and ensure effective functioning of policies, plans, strategies, regulations, monitoring systems and multi-stakeholder platforms, which, collectively, have been found to be important in supporting sustainable landscapes.

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Theory U: Stakeholder Interviews

  • Analytical
  • Co-design
  • Guide

This tool takes you through the principles, preparation and steps to conduct stakeholder interviews which can, in turn, be used to formulate a detailed history or description of the current state of the landscape from the perspective of key stakeholders.

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