Beahrs ELP Blog

Designing a Monitoring and Impact Assessment Framework for the Development and Maintenance of Effective Integrated Landscape Interventions

by Armando Sanchez (ELP 2012)

Community representatives, decision makers and policy officials are currently in need of a reliable and comprehensive monitoring and impact assessment framework that allows them not only to monitor the outcomes of integrated landscape interventions, but also to determine the ecosystem, biodiversity and economic impacts of such projects. The objective of this article is to briefly discuss some difficulties in the design and implementation of an innovative framework that can play the role of an auxiliary tool for landscape management interventions.

One of the first things to consider is that the complexity of a monitoring and impact assessment framework will depend on the nature of the intervention. For example, if the goal of the project is to reforest and capture carbon, the measurement system should only take into account the temporal and spatial scales and can consist of a simple follow up of time series trends.  However, if the goal of the intervention follows an integrated approach, the type of system needed should include measurements of changes in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem maintenance, poverty reduction and their interactions. In fact, all of the technical components of the typical monitoring system will become more complex (i.e. objectives, variables, sampling strategy, data collection, data handling and organization). Even more, in the context of an integrated approach, the collected data might be associated to the spatial, temporal and individual scales. Having panel data with three dimensions makes the task more difficult to implement a follow up of the outputs and to infer causal relationships between management actions and outputs. So, some simplifying assumptions would have to be imposed to grasp the statistical patterns and causal effects of interest.

Another important aspect in developing a monitoring and impact assessment system in the context of an integrated approach implies the development of a comprehensive framework for describing and analyzing multi-objective and multi-stakeholder projects. To do so, one needs to rely on a team of experts from different knowledge areas capable of understanding the project outcomes from different perspectives and collaboration to disentangle the interactions between the social, biodiversity and ecosystems aspects. This team should also have as a goal not only to monitor, but also to determine the impacts attributable to the project, which might be a useful basis to improve the interventions. For example, the statistical tools typically used to isolate the economic impacts, counterfactuals, might be used in conjunction with monitoring tools, such as remote sensing, that are already in use to follow up reforestation patterns. Therefore, the challenge is to adapt the existing methodologies in a consistent framework that might be used to assess the benefits of an integrated project.

In general, a successful approach for the design and implementation of systems to monitor and assess the impacts of effective integrated approaches requires an alliance of experts with different areas of expertise and disciplines. All project stakeholders must be involved in the innovative design and the objective given the type of interventions needed nowadays to adapt to the challenges imposed by climate change.

Chipinge Rural District: A Case for Climate Change Adaptation Ensuring Food Security and Poverty Alleviation for Dry Regions of Zimbabwe (2012-2020)

by Osmond Mugweni (ELP 2008)

The Africa 2000 Network has identified an area with a lot of underground fresh water that is between 5 – 15 meters in Wards 23 and 25 of Chipinge District in Manicaland Province (Zimbabwe) through its Participatory Development Management Programme. This was through drilling four of the six boreholes funded by the Japanese Embassy. The four borehole yields are extremely good (data seen below). There are a total of ten villages in this zone (four in Ward 23 and six in Ward 25 with a total population of about 5000 households.

Africa 2000 Network can develop a Holistic development recovery that covers ten community irrigation schemes (one in each village), individual deep well schemes for 1000 households (100 in each village); a sanitation programme for family and group toilets at community schemes and individual family toilets as well as income generating programmes through well diggers and other related irrigation projects with a Holistic Land and Livestock Restoration of Land and Natural Water Sources Programme. The time frame can be three years. Funding is needed for this.

For further information on this project, email Osmond at


Sites of New Boreholes Drilled in 2011 in support by the Embassy of Japan:

  1. 1. Takunda A Ward 23 (BH A) Borehole Depth 50mtrs; Water Level 15mtrs; & Estimated Yield (Gallons Per Hour=GPH) 1050GPH or 1.3125 l/s
  2. Takunda Ward 23 (BH B adjacent to irrigation Block) Borehole Depth 50mtrs; Water Level 7mtrs; & Estimated Yield (Gallons Per Hour=GPH) 1700GPH or 2.125 l/s
  3. Chimurenga Ward 23 Borehole Depth 50mtrs; Water Level 5mtrs; & Estimated Yield (Gallons Per Hour=GPH) 600GPH or 0.75 l/s
  4. Mupawaneta Ward 25 Borehole Depth 50mtrs; Water Level 6mtrs; & Estimated Yield (Gallons Per Hour=GPH) 1200GPH or 1.50 l/s


Management Planning Process for Privately Owned Forests using a Participatory and Consultative Process in the Northern Albertine Rift Forests in Uganda

by Simon Akwetaireho (ELP 2012)

The Murchison-Semliki Landscape (MS-L) in western Uganda is one of the six core landscapes constituting the Albertine Rift and is one of the most bio-diverse regions of the African continent in terms of birds, mammals, amphibians and plants. In MS-L mosaics, there are privately owned tropical rainforests that are important for providing vital ecosystem services that regulate global and local climatic conditions, act as carbon sinks, and provide catchment protection to many streams and small rivers. The private forests also act as corridors and dispersal areas for wild animals like chimpanzees between government managed wildlife protected areas. Unfortunately, the corridor forests are being lost and degraded due to subsistence and small scale commercial agriculture, increasingly indiscriminate unsustainable logging, harvesting of fuel wood, and sub-canopy agriculture.

With financial support from American Electric Power in Ohio, USA and in collaboration with seven national and international conservation organizations, the Jane Goodall Institute is implementing a pilot project, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), in MS-L to provide incentives to local farmers to maintain natural forest on their land. The goal of the project is aimed at 1,541 private forest owners through building awareness, capacity, and governance mechanisms to access carbon payments and that benefit from the United Nations REDD approaches to climate change mitigation. The 1,541 private forest owners live in 19 separate Parish Local Governments and have been organized into 13 functional Private Forest Owners Associations for implementing project activities and channeling REDD incentive payments.

After being equipped with skills and knowledge in collaborative planning and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes by Beahrs ELP 2012, I returned to Uganda determined to facilitate and support each of the 13 Private Forest Owners Associations and to develop a forest management plan in a consultative, participatory, and integrated manner. Technical support was provided by a procured forest consultant, with me co-facilitating the meetings along with the Community Development Officer from the Hoima District Local Government. A village meeting was organised for each of the 13 Associations. The consultative meetings were held in September and October 2012 and were aimed, among other things, to develop a shared vision, goal and set of objectives for the management of private forests under the Private Forest Owner Association. I was specifically involved in facilitating four sub-working groups that were tasked to generate planning issues focused on the following themes related to forest management: benefits, problems/issues and associated potential solutions, stakeholders and their roles/responsibilities as well as community resource mapping.

The series of meetings culminated into the development of 13 private forest management plans and were ready to be implemented to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation through supporting farmers to undertake the following set of interventions: forest-based enterprises, agro-forestry, establishment of woodlots for firewood, conservation farming, profitable forest friendly cash crops e.g. cocoa and coffee, access to rural micro-finance services, and organic certification for farmers to be able to demand higher prices for agricultural products.

N.B. The implementation period of each management plan is 2013-2022 and each will require on average an investment of US$ 278,592 for implementation of the interventions for the entire ten years.

For further information, contact Simon at and

Trouble ahead if “forests and adaptation” are not considered in the Post Rio+20 Era

by Denis J. Sonwa (ELP 2010)

Forests have occupied a role in the first 20 years of the RIO era (1992-2012) through three main conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In the CBD, forest protection has been regularly highlighted, a trend that is likely to continue in the next decade. The place of forests in the “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020,” including Aichi Biodiversity Targets (“Living in harmony with nature”) is an illustration of its recognition.[1] In the UNCCD, forests, including dry forests, are also considered a priority.[2] To help mainstream the importance of forests in the UNFCCC, “forest days” have been organized since Bali 2007 with the leadership of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The recent Sixth Annual Forest Day at COP 18 in Doha, Qatar, marked the successful completion of this awareness campaign and will be the last Forest Day.[3] Next year the discussion will focus on Landscape Day and bring together the dynamics of Agricultural Day as well as others.[4]

In response to climate change, two main groups of actions are currently in use: Mitigation and Adaptation. REDD+ (Mitigation) has risen significantly on the agenda amongst countries such as Norway[5] and US states such as California[6] and are willing to play more significant roles in protecting tropical forests through REDD+. In the Congo Basin and West Africa, USAID and the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) have also been re-orienting their activities to focus on REDD+.[7] Climate change is thus redrawing the cooperation agenda. For forests, this is orienting policy towards conservation and management efforts that will reduce the emission of the Green House Gases. Despite these efforts, climate change/variation is already affecting the present and therefore adaptation strategies for natural resource management as well as for communities should be considered. The linkage between forests and adaptation to climate change is still missing. The impact of climate change on tropical forests and the potential role of forests to adaptation have not yet been properly explored, with efforts still at their early stages.[8]

During a recent science policy dialogue, stakeholders in Central Africa highlighted the link between forests and water, food security, energy and heath in the context of climate change.[9]

Although forests and adaptation have been an issue primarily in temperate countries, it is increasingly becoming a concern for tropical areas. In the tropics, the dependency on forests is high and it will be difficult to develop a good adaptation plan if forest resources are ignored. It would be illusive to think that we will use forests for mitigation without taking into consideration the management of the negative effects of climate change on forest stands and on communities. As we enter the era of Rio+20, the impact of climate change on forests and the potential of forests for adaptation need to be given more consideration. Forests need to be at the center of adaptation planning. This also aligns with Ecosystem Base Adaptation (EBA) which is increasingly recognized as a way to complement infrastructural investments to face climate change. However, for this to work, the topic of “forests and adaptation” should be paid the same attention as REDD+, Forest Biodiversity, etc. There is a need to adapt, and if forests are not considered, we may be exploring a life that is not in harmony with nature.


Sonwa D J. & Nkem NJ. Idinoba ME. & Bele MY. & Jum C (2012) Building regional priorities in forests for development and adaptation to climate change in the Congo Basin. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 17:441–450. ADAPTATION OF FORESTS AND PEOPLE TO CLIMATE CHANGE – A Global Assessment Report


[9] Sonwa et al. 2012

The Otter Watch Project

by M. Gopakumar (ELP 2001)

The foundation that I manage, The Nityata Foundation, works on landscapes and species that most foundations do not work on simply because there is no funding. Our flagship project in the last year has been The Otter Watch Initiative – a most challenging project if there ever was one.

Why otters? Because we are captivated by them! They are enigmatic, playful, and sociable and not much is known about them here in India. Otters, along with crocodiles, are the head of the riverine food chain – the tigers and leopards of the river, so to speak – and we hope that our effort to conserve them along the Cauvery River in Karnataka (South India) will end up enriching the river itself.

Otters are, like many animals, threatened by poaching, their skin being clandestinely exported to handbag manufacturers. A greater threat though is the conflict with fishermen, who see otters stealing their yearly-decreasing catch, and do not hesitate to kill them when they get caught in the nets themselves.

My small team of wildlife biologist + sociologist + economist (that’s me) and support staff are now working on economic tools that could help conserve the otter such as market mechanisms that will provide possible livelihoods to local stakeholders. Low-impact – emphasis on truly low-impact, possible solutions include: eco-tourism and appointing river wardens. The journey thus far has been fascinating – it began as a wildlife project and we now realise that saving the otter has little to do with the animal itself and far more to do with working on sustainable solutions that will conserve fish populations.

If we succeed in making some impact in this three year project, its replicability is exciting – all rivers in India are over exploited and many have otters. It could also add to the increasing body of work that supports market-based tools for conservation, valuing eco-system services and protection.

For further information about this project, email

Copyright © 2020 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. | Website by Computer Courage | Sitemap