TEEB Climate Initiative
Supporting Biodiversity and Climate-friendly Land Management
in Agricultural Landscapes
The project “Supporting Biodiversity and Climate-friendly Land Management in Agricultural Landscapes” brings national stakeholders together to conduct TEEB Country Studies. The national TEEB implementation process aims to mainstream biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use into agricultural landscapes and seascape.
The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports the project in Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand.
The agricultural sector is a leading driver of ecosystem degradation, health externalities, and greenhose gas (GHG) emissions. Agriculture also provides positive benefits such as food for humans, feed for animals, fibres, raw materials, employment and cultural cohesion. Many of the negative and positive impacts are economically invisible, hence unaccounted for in public and private decision-making.
The project aims to catalyse policy reforms that mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into agricultural landscapes and seascapes. By following the TEEB approach, the project brings stakeholders together to identify agricultural land use decisions that would benefit from valuation ecosystem services and biodiversity. This would be followed by modelling impacts of land use, assessing subsequent changes in ecosystem services provisioning, and valuing them so they can be part of the economic calculus of policy makers. A core part of the analysis would be to assess distributional impacts of land use decisions, the income-poor in particular, and provide policy recommendations.
The project may contribute to the following outcomes:
• Policy instruments formally reviewed by governments at national level and/or implemented that capture the positive and negative externalities and impacts associated with land use decisions in agricultural landscapes.
• Governmental (e.g. regional or local) and private sector entities (e.g. industry bodies) apply recommendations from the TEEB landscapes assessments in decision-making.
Policy changes that may be informed by TEEB:
• The valuation of externalities leads to a reduction in harmful subsidies and shift to sustainable food production systems.
• Landscape level analysis leads to increased habitat connectivity and reduced land fragmentation, thereby reducing agriculture pressures on Protected Areas.
• Enhanced awareness and supporting evidence leads to investments in the productive assets of rural livelihoods, such as soil, forests, agro-biodiversity and water
• Policy shift towards climate friendly agriculture, particularly Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) investments, arising from TEEB scenario analysis.
• GHG mitigation strategies for agriculture compared, assessed and implemented, including agroforestry.
Project Starting Situation
The four countries in scope have seen large-scale changes in the use of natural resources such as land, water and energy. These changes have arisen in part because natural capital stocks and the flow of ecosystem services in agriculture landscapes are economically invisible, hence unaccounted for in public and private decision making. Although drivers of change and threats to ecosystems vary across the four countries, there are some commonalities; issues such as land tenure arrangements, demographics, high social and private discount rates (arising from the need to focus on immediate basic human needs), and fiscal incentives for unsustainable production practices, have all contributed to land use change, land fragmentation and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
These drivers and threats not only impact on livelihood opportunities today, but also tend to lead to lower resilience to climate change in the agricultural sector, propagating a vicious circle of ecosystem degradation and poverty. Furthermore, an ineffective governance framework coupled with insufficient funding of law enforcement agencies aggravate the inevitable trade-offs among competing land-use sectors such as agriculture, industry, urbanisation, and tourism.
Agriculture provides positive benefits such as food for humans, feed for animals, fibre for artisanal and industrial production, raw material for fuels, employment and cultural cohesion. As such, agricultural landscapes serve as the socio-economic backbone of society. A large part of the population in the four countries in scope, especially smallholder, subsistence, and landless farmers, depend on what have become degraded ecosystems to sustain their livelihoods and income-generation opportunities. As basic agricultural inputs such as soil, nutrients, land, and water are becoming increasingly scarce, this raises serious concerns with regards the sustainability of the agricultural production system.
Although the four countries in scope are making progress in mainstreaming wider environmental concerns into cross-sectoral development and planning strategies, the linkages to biodiversity and ecosystem services often remain poorly articulated, particularly at the level of agricultural landscapes. Furthermore, capacity gaps exist in scenario analysis, assessment, and valuation of ecosystem services at landscape level.