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Updated:01 Jan 01:00 CET
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Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-Level Approaches to Sustainability

Between 21 and 26 March, Burgos hosted the 1st Edition of the Landscape and Sustainability Global Forum, where experts from around the world worked to share their knowledge of sustainable landscape management. The first part of this Global Forum, the International Symposium on Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability, attracted more than 400 participants from 62 different countries.

This symposium took place over two packed days of talks held at the Atapuerca Convention Centre in Burgos. The morning and afternoon of 22 and 23 March were marked by delegates’ intense activity, as they attended the talks and also took part in the group working sessions.

Although the event was structured around four main themes, they all shared three key points that sum up the conclusions reached at the convention: rural development, the convergence of landscape management models and the participation of society – all essential in order to guarantee sustainable forestry management for the future.
‘Ecosystem goods and services’ was the first issue to be addressed. Paying for environmental services was a strategic pivot point during this session, which specifically highlighted the need to continue promoting the role of forests as a means of mitigating climate change. Attention was also drawn to the opportunities provided by the UN’s REDD+ programme to curb deforestation, plus the fact that collaboration networks such as the International Model Forest Network, are essential in successfully adapting to climate change.

An example of this was put forward by José González, a lecturer and researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Using a case study entitled ‘Evaluating ecosystem services in transhumance cultural landscapes’, he explained how transhumance is a form of adaptive landscape management in times of global change.

The more technical issues addressed during the Symposium focused on analysing landscape inventory and monitoring. Speakers drew attention to the positive use of inventories, showing how data exchange between monitoring programmes can boost efficiency and generate added value for all stakeholders within a common space. Participants in this session included experts in landscape monitoring from the NILS programme (the National Inventory of Landscapes in Sweden) and the Foothills Research Institute in Canada. Participants were also given an insight into the work of the NAFORMA (Forestry Resources Monitoring and Assessment) Project carried out in Tanzania under the auspices of the FAO and the Tanzanian and Finnish governments.

Moving on from technical to more social issues, activities on Wednesday 23 got underway with the governance session. Analysis and debated centred on participation and conflict solving. Chimère Diaw, the session’s coordinator and Director of the African Model Forest Network, defended the concept of the Model Forest as an optimum tool for conflict management, in accordance with research carried out and the lessons learned in Cameroon and experiences in other tropical African countries. “Conflict was behind the appearance of Model Forests in Canada, and its presence is more widespread than we imagine. Model forests provide a framework for negotiating the resolution of conflicts, organisation and joint planning”.


Background and Rationale

While the world’s ecosystems are under strong and multiple pressures that threaten the critical  life-sustaining values that they represent, it is also the case that significant advances have been made around the world in recent years that are positively implicating hundreds of millions of hectares of forests and tens of millions of forest dependent people. This is a story that needs to be better told, and 2011 as the United Nations International Year of Forests, is an ideal time to tell the story.

Accordingly, the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino of Spain, the Regional Government of Castilla y León, Spain, the International Model Forest Network Secretariat, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity are pleased to invite you to participate in an International Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability. The Symposium precedes the Global Forum of the IMFN, also held in Burgos.

The Symposium took place over 3 days in Burgos, Spain, between the 21 and 24 March 2011. The goals of the event were:

  1. To highlight the nature and magnitude of the significant body of work being delivered globally to advance understanding and application of ecosystem and landscape-level approaches to sustainable land use and management;
  2. To create a forum to draw together representatives of the current capacity and experiences in landscape-level examples worldwide in order to better understand their value and prospects in term of potential impacts on policy, practice and decision-making from local to international levels
  3. To develop a strategic document of recommendations and suggestions on how to ensure that this body of evidence can be integrated into problem solving on sustainable use and management of landscapes and natural resources in the view of critical current and future challenges.  

The objectives of the event included the following:

  1. To draw together some of the world’s most accomplished and experienced professionals (policy and practice) in various aspects of, and approaches to, ecosystem-based management in order to describe and reflect on the state of the art to ecosystem-based management
  2. To understand aspects and approaches to ecosystem-based management in a forum that encourages a holistic consideration of their attributes and interconnections in order to better conceptualize future options and scenarios for improvement
  3. To stimulate reflection and discussion on the way forward, scientifically, programmatically, and politically to support effective ecosystem-based management
  4. By drawing together representatives of like-minded and like-mandated organizations and initiatives, to catalyze opportunities for networking and collaboration

For more information, please write to: