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Landscape Governance Capacity Framework

Towards a framework and approach for assessment and strategic guidance of landscape initiatives


At the heart of landscape approaches is landscape governance. Landscape governance considers a landscape to be a multi-functional, multi-stakeholder (geographic) space which involves environmental, social, and economic objectives of landscape actors, which are addressed in an integrated way and in connection with relevant dynamics beyond that particular landscape.

Landscape Governance Capacity

Landscape governance capacity can be understood as the collective capabilities of landscape actors within a particular landscape to govern their shared landscape from an integrated perspective on the landscape, in view of shared concerns and shared goals, and in connection with dynamics beyond that particular landscape.

It is comprised of 5 key capabilities:

  1. Capability to ‘think’ landscape, which entails the capacity to understand its identity, its dynamics, its strengths and potentials, and strategically act upon;
  2. Capability to achieve internal coherence, which entails landscape leadership and the capacity to facilitate multi-stakeholder networks, establish common visions, leverage power relations and manage conflicts;
  3. Capability to make institutions work for landscapes, which entails the capacity to recognise and capitalise on endogenous landscape institutions, secure access rights to resources and benefits, and link with external policy frames and markets;
  4. Capability to create landscape market value by nurturing entrepreneurship, create landscape business models and attract landscape finance;
  5. Capability to manage resources, which requires deep knowledge of resources dynamics, and spatial information management to feed into participatory spatial planning and decision making

These core capabilities are further broken down into multiple dimensions and variables, the understanding and assessment of which can help to identify strengths on which landscape initiatives can capitalise, as well as potential pitfalls which require recognition, attention and potentially, capacity development.

Landscape Governance Capacity Assessment Tool

On the right hand side of this page, you can download the full framework. 

You can also download the (self-) assessment tool in Microsoft Excel format

The assessment provides a first tentative specification in terms of variables which requires further interactive development and adaptation


A Governance Approach to Landscape Restoration

Forest landscape restoration is all about who decides on what to be restored, how, and for what purpose. It does not aim to ‘just’ restore forests, but to restore landscapes as a whole. Not only by making use of cleverly designed restoration plans which  fit in the biophysical characteristics of the landscapes, but also by valuing the interests of a landscape’s inhabitants, users or ‘stakeholders’. Landscapes usually accomodate many different stakeholders, each of which having their own interests, contributions and priorities. It is the way in which these stakeholders interact, negotiate, and make landscape decisions which we call landscape governance.

Landscape governance is crucial to forest landscape restoration, to make sure that the restoration outcomes meet the interests of its inhabitants and users, and have it sustained. Landscape governance is not just a checklist that one can go through, but it is a process of stakeholder consultation, deliberation, negotiation, and making well informed choices. Such a process needs to be carefully facilitated, to make sure that its outcome is satisfying to the needs and interests of the stakeholders involved.

To help landscape stakeholders to initiate and facilitate such a process and bring it to a satisfying outcome, the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, supported by the World Resources Institute, developed a framework for assessing ‘landscape governance capacities’. The framework enables landscape stakeholders to collectively assess their existing landscape governance capacities, identify potential capacity gaps, and develop a roadmap for enhancing the capacities they want to strengthen.

So far, the framework has been used by landscape stakeholders in several countries around the globe. Some used it as a tool to assess their own landscape governance capacities, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Others used it as a guidance for capacity development and support. And others used it as a monitoring framework, to plan their restoration activities, and measure progress.

If you want to read more on landscape governance, click here