Managing landscapes for climate-smart agricultural systems: Lesson learnedGlobal


Different landscapes require different approaches, depending on the state and nature of the resources, land use dynamics, and social and economic contexts. Eight case studies were presented and analysed in order to illustrate some aspects of a holistic landscape approach in different contexts (FAO 2103a). 1 The case studies included:

  • Pastoralism in Laikipia, Kenya (see also Case study: Pastoralism in Laikipia, Kenya).
  • Preserving the Kihamba agro-forestry system, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • Implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture in Estero Real, Nicaragua.
  • Preserving forest resources and improving livelihoods through communal tenure rights in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala.
  • Addressing forest fires by improving livelihoods in the forest-agriculture interface in Syria.
  • Ecosystem services of peatlands of the Ruoergai Plateau.
  • Assessing ecosystem services at a territorial scale – options for policy making, planning, and monitoring in the Kagera river basin.
  • Planning and management for the hydrological balance of the South American continent – the role of the tropical Andes.
Lessons learned

Five important messages emerged from these studies:

  • Managing agriculture, forestry and fisheries at a landscape scale is key to achieving sustainable development.
  • Appropriate land-use planning and decision making at the landscape level should be based on a participatory, consensus-based and people-centred approach.
  • Production sectors are often managed in isolation from each other and this can be counterproductive. Coordination at the landscape level facilitates the integrated management of production systems and the natural resources that underpin ecosystem services needed for all sectors. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), which follows a landscape approach, can address the challenges involved in intersectoral natural resources management.
  • Measuring and monitoring the multiple benefits of climate-smart landscapes is essential for tracking the impact of intersectoral efforts.
  • Scaling up CSA and moving from pilot projects to large-scale programme and policies by applying a landscape approach requires a diverse range of strategies and practices. It is important to create awareness and partnerships between sectors, mainstream CSA into policies and build capacities at all levels. These activities must be supported by an enabling policy and market environment.


  • 1

    FAO. 2013a. Climate-Smart Agriculture: Sourcebook. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Between now and 2050, the world’s population will increase by one-third. Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, FAO estimates that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed. Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction. Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture, requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

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