2015 Conference: Conserving biodiversity across multiple use landscapes through strategic governance and land-use planning

The Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) hosted the 21st Annual ISTFConference at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The theme the 2015 year’s conference responded to the increasing rate of biodiversity loss from rapid land-use conversion in the tropics, and the urgent need to adopt a landscape approach to conservation. This strategy consists of multiple stakeholder efforts to employ governance and land-use planning mechanisms to facilitate biodiversity conservation across human-dominated, multiple-use landscapes.

The Conference began with a keynote address from the UNCBD Executive Director Braulio Dias, and a response from a cross-sectoral panel of high-level experts representing NGOs, the private sector, government institutions, foundations, and academia. Additional panels and break-out sessions were organized into the following streams:

  1. Reconciling conservation with multiple land uses. How can conservation goals be met across landscapes that include multiple land uses such as urban spaces, extractive development, protected areas, agricultural land, and others? What are innovative approaches to reduce pressure and reconcile land uses, such as agroforestry, habitat restoration, ecological corridors, responsible supply chains, mitigation mechanisms by corporations, management of wildlife and production areas, land sparing and land sharing, among others?

  2. Developing effective governance mechanisms. What kind of strategies increase participatory management, multi-level stakeholder engagement, improve coordination across sectors and scales, and promote equitable governance within a landscape? What constitutes effective governance for biodiversity conservation at the landscape level?

  3. Improving the financial sustainability of landscape conservation. What innovative tools and mechanisms can finance biodiversity conservation at the landscape level? 

  4. Leveraging data, technology and landscape planning tools. This will be a platform to exchange ideas on applying technology and spatial analysis tools to advance information sharing, spatial planning and implementation of landscape conservation plans.