Interview [ID: 97]

Nathan Russell on how the landscape approach can be a viable approach

Sceptical thoughts about the landscape approach's value added are wide spread in the community of development practitioners.

However common thinking is changing. Nathan Russell of CIAT is one example. In this short interview from the floor of the Global Landscapes Forum he explains where his perception becomes more distinct, where he is beginning to see the usefulness as well as its ultimate limits.

Criminals that made big money from illegal timber trade could not be expected to sit around a table, says Nathan Russell, head of corporate communications at the Centre for Tropical Agriculture Research.

Video

Nathan Russell | CIAT

Nathan Russell on how the landscape approach can be a viable approach. Jan 2015

Sceptical thoughts about the landscape approach’s value added are wide spread in the community of development practitioners. However common thinking is changing. Nathan Russell of CIAT is one example. In this short interview from the floor of the Global Landscapes Forum he explains where his perception becomes more distinct, where he is beginning to see the usefulness as well as its ultimate limits.

Transcript

Nathan Russell: A couple of years ago when the Global Landscape Forum began, I consider myself to have been one of the sceptics. I thought “How can you really relate to landscapes? It is so general, it sounds so trivial. When I think of landscaping I think of mowing the lawn and working in the garden.” Two years later, as a result of working with people like Deborah (Bossio), I think I am starting to get it and I am finding myself more and more convinced that this is a viable approach. I see examples in CIAT’s work that show that it can be a viable approach. So I am going to stick around a little longer and see how it all works out.

Pascal Corbé (Secretariat): Where could this approach be applied?

Nathan Russell: We are seeing a lot of examples in this meeting today. We heard about an example from Kenya. I visited a site where the landscape approach has been applied here in Peru. There is a lot of potential to scale it up. I saw one watershed in the coastal region of Peru. There are 53 watersheds. So right there you have got scope for scaling up.

What I do not get is how much does it depend on the kind of landscape you’re talking about. Today we were talking about classic situations in which we have downstream and users of water and other ecosystem services, and you have upstream people whose activities affect those resources. Then, if you are talking about flat watersheds in an area like the Amazon basin, is the landscape approach as relevant there? Can it accomplish as much there? Can you be as successful bringing the people together there, where you have violence, drug mafias, illegal timber mafias? It is rather hard to imagine those people sitting around the table with farmers and others reaching some kind of amicable deal. They have got guns. They are killing people.

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