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Implementing forest landscape restoration in Latin America: Stakeholder perceptions on legal frameworks
- Daniella Schweizer, Paula Meli, Pedro H.S. Brancalion, Manuel R. Guariguata
- Land use policy 2021 v.104 pp. 104244
- forest restoration, forestry, forests, funding, governance, interviews, issues and policy, landscapes, laws and regulations, nongovernmental organizations, quantitative analysis, questionnaires, social welfare, stakeholders, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Latin America, Mexico
- Legal frameworks could play a key role in enabling countries to meet their ambitious forest landscape restoration (FLR) targets. In this paper, we examine the perceptions of different types of stakeholders from 17 Latin American countries on aspects of forestry and environmental legal frameworks that enable or hamper FLR interventions at the national level. We first reviewed general, environmental, social and financial aspects of existing legal frameworks in order to provide the basis for a mixed qualitative - quantitative analysis of perceptions. The analysis combines information from semi-structured interviews and a Likert-scale questionnaire given to relevant stakeholders involved in implementing FLR interventions in the countries assessed. We interviewed stakeholders from government, academia, national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local private and non-governmental organizations. We found that most legal frameworks are in the jurisdiction of either the agriculture or the environmental sectors. As a whole, we did not find evidence of the kind of legal frameworks articulation needed to enable the coordinated deployment of various forest FLR interventions across landscapes. We found efforts in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico to improve cross-sectorial communication and legislation, and to develop innovative financial mechanisms to support FLR interventions. In general, interviewees had a positive perception of the content of legal frameworks in their countries; however, they highlighted weak implementation capacities, insufficient funding, sectorial and social conflicts, and lack of transparency as key impediments for policy implementation. Academic and NGO stakeholders perceived the content of the legal frameworks more negatively, whereas government officials were more positive. Different perceptions and the prevalence of cross-sectorial conflicts highlight the importance of efforts aimed at improving governance mechanisms and policy integration in the region. In addition, a targeted effort is needed to develop long-term, funding options that are public, private or mixed, and to disseminate information on the importance of FLR interventions for national economies and human well-being. We consider our results as a preliminary overview of the legal environment for FLR implementation in Latin America.