Foundational approaches for measuring biodiversity and nature in landscape and jurisdictional initiatives

Sustainability challenges like deforestation, biodiversity loss, tenure insecurity and livelihood sustainability are beyond the capabilities of any individual organisation, and can’t be fully addressed through interventions limited to specific sites.

In response, landscape and jurisdictional approaches are emerging as ways to foster collaboration to meet shared sustainability goals at scale. 

Like any sustainability initiative, landscape and jurisdictional approaches need to be able to measure and monitor their impact. While it’s important to be sensitive to the unique geography, context and diverse components of each landscape, aligning measurement methodologies at the landscape scale offers many advantages. 

It is crucial for enhancing collaboration, optimising resource allocation, fostering accountability, and maximising effectiveness in confronting the intricate environmental and social issues these initiatives aim to resolve. 

It can also lead to more accurate and transparent reporting of outcomes, and the provision of data that is better aligned with company reporting and disclosure requirements. The scale, complexity and diversity of landscape and jurisdictional approaches, however, makes this particularly challenging.  

To contribute to this effort, ISEAL commissioned Proforest to provide practical guidance for landscape and jurisdictional initiatives seeking to report on biodiversity and nature-related outcomes and impacts. 

This resulted in two papers tailored for a technical audience, part of a series on measurement and monitoring for landscape and jurisdictional approaches:

The primer describes three well established assessment frameworks that are complementary and together provide a standardised process for context-specific measures of biodiversity, and more specifically for identifying, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and nature in landscape initiatives. 

The three foundational approaches are:

  • Land use and land cover change (LULCC) analysis
  • Status of effective management for protected areas
  • High conservation value (HCV) screening and assessment

These approaches can help landscape and jurisdictional approaches to understand biodiversity dynamics and conservation priorities, and hence support a more sustainable management of the landscape. Importantly, further adoption of global assessment frameworks would also facilitate collaboration and knowledge and data exchange internationally for deeper insights into sustainability challenges.

Through concerted efforts and aligned methodologies, landscape and jurisdictional approaches have the potential to catalyse transformative change, leading to more resilient and sustainable landscapes for future generations.