Integrated landscape management is one approach to addressing the major global challenges of poverty, food security, climate change, water scarcity, deforestation and loss of biodiversity at the local level. Proponents of integrated landscape management argue that as these challenges are interconnected, coordinated approaches are needed to address them, in order for landscapes (heterogeneous geographic areas) to generate multiple benefits. For example, one river basin can supply water for towns and agriculture, timber and food crops for smallholders and industry, and habitat for biodiversity; the way in which each one of these sectors pursues its goals can have impacts on the others. The integrated approach goes beyond traditional sector-based practices that manage these different land uses independently of each other, even where they depend on the same resource base. The intention is to manage landscapes in a joined-up way so that society’s needs can be met in the short term, and in the long term.
Integrated landscape management is increasingly recognized and taken up by intergovernmental bodies, government initiatives, research institutes, and some of the world’s largest conservation NGOs, resulting in an increase in the number of examples of the approach in practice. However, barriers to uptake include difficulties in monitoring integrated landscape management and the proliferation of definitions and terms relating to it.