Latsis Symposium 2018 – Scaling-up Forest Restoration

The Latsis Symposium 2018 brings leading scientists and practitioners in forestry to ETH Zürich to address the ecological, economic, and societal challenges of scaling-up forest restoration. The symposium will tackle two major environmental threats, climate change and forest degradation, through restoration and aims to set out methods of coordinating an effective global response.

The 2-day symposium will take inspiration from the Bonn Challenge and seek to explore challenges and opportunities in meeting its targets. The discussion will be moulded by presentations from academia, non-governmental organisations, and the business sector.

Registration is free of charge and ends on 30 May 2018.

For more details, please visit the symposium website or read about the highlights of this event in this blog post.


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Landscape transformation: what does power have to do with it?


Many different kinds of actors are involved in landscape transformations – indigenous landholders, small-scale farmers, agri-business corporations, land titling agencies, and forest conservation departments, to name just a few. Each actor has their own vision of how landscapes should be arranged, and who should be permitted to do what with the land. These visions  sometimes overlap, but often they conflict and collide, bringing questions of power to the fore.

What kinds of power can an agri-business corporation use to displace an indigenous woman farmer from her land – and what powers can she use to hold on to it, if she has other plans for it?

Why are forest departments able to enforce protected area boundaries in one location, but not in another?

What makes some small-scale farmers able to hold onto their land, while others lose it through mortgage or debt?

In situations like these, no actors have all the power on their side. Instead, different actors make use of one or more “powers of exclusion” to hold on to land, and to exclude others from it. These powers include force (a gun, a fence, a blockade); regulations (state laws, customary laws, formal boundaries, and land use zones); markets (the price of rent, or credit, or a bribe); and legitimation (arguments about what is right, or fair, or efficient, that may pit global conservation against local incomes, or GNP growth against equity and sustainability, or indigenous peoples’ rights against the needs of landless migrants).

The webinar outlines the “powers of exclusion” framework for analyzing how different actors are able to control land and transform landscapes, and what happens when agendas conflict. Illustrations will be drawn from different scales (regional to local) with a focus on Southeast Asia, and will be used to highlight implications for policy, advocacy and practice. The webinar will also include an open forum for Q and A.

The presenters are Derek Hall, Philip Hirsch and Tania Murray Li, co-authors of Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia (2011, National University of Singapore and University of Hawaii Press).

Background reading:

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Land Use Change Needs Behavior Change

We know we have to change. We know the time is now. The question is: How?

Driven by agricultural expansion and the conversion to cash crops and monocultures, the past decades have seen rapid changes affecting landscapes in the tropics – coming largely at the expense of intact forests and other critical ecosystems.

Ultimately, most if not all of these changes are attributable to human behavior – within producer as well as consumer communities. Yet, the most prominent responses to these land use challenges such as REDD+, or more recently, the global large-scale restoration agenda have focused on a limited array of tools designed to shift human behavior, namely financial incentives and legal restrictions.

While other policy fields like public health have a longer history in putting people and their real motivations at the center, concepts from behavioral psychology and economics are now gaining traction in environmental policy. And they did already shape conservation practice for decades, lessons from which solutions are now being distilled.

Following a session at the Global Landscapes Forum in December 2017, we will convene a group of renowned experts from conservation, development, behavioral design and community-based action to discuss with you the Importance of Behavior Change for Land Use Change. We look forward to an exciting debate that will shed light on how practitioners, scientists and professionals can draw from the wealth of insights that behavior economics and psychology have surfaced.


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