Sustainable Landscapes

A team of national park staff participates in birdwatching training.
The land use sector—including deforestation and the degradation of forest—accounts for one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Agriculture is the major driver of deforestation, resulting in direct emissions from on-farm practices, as well as indirect emissions from land use conversion.  Human well-being and sustainable development are underpinned by well-managed lands and natural resources.  Thus, Sustainable Landscapes programs focus on places where forest carbon storage is high and where risk of deforestation may be great.  Indeed, guiding the evolution of broad landscape mosaics is integral to a country’s holistic low emissions development.
USAID supports activities that reduce land-based emissions—from mangroves, to savannas, to agricultural fields.  Partnering with governments, USAID is assisting in planning and implementing policies to address drivers of land-based emissions.  By building capacity for rigorous, transparent monitoring of forest and carbon stocks, USAID supports REDD+ project development.  Other activities work to identify better practices and on-the-ground opportunities for low-emissions agriculture.


EC-LEDS Sustainable Landscapes

Through Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS), the U.S. government provides technical assistance to more than 20 countries for economic analysis, policy formulation and planning; capacity building in institutions; and economy-wide greenhouse gas inventories. EC-LEDS activities include support of low emission, sustainable land-use practices in the agriculture and forestry sectors; and helping establish monitoring, reporting, and verification systems to assess emission reduction impacts of sustainable land-use practices and prepare for participation in international carbon markets.

REDD+ Project Portfolio

USAID supports tropical forest conservation by helping countries engage in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+, an approach to curb deforestation and related greenhouse gas emissions through financial incentives. REDD+ may also produce important co-benefits, such as supporting human livelihoods, biological diversity and other environmental services.

Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment

Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) works in the Congo Basin to create a regional forest dialogue and build local, national and regional capacity for improved natural resource management. USAID supports governments and local communities to make long-term plans for sustainable forest use, as well as improved monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity.


SilvaCarbon draws on scientific capacity from a number of U.S. federal agencies to help host government counterparts and other local organizations to improve their capacity to monitor and manage tropical forests and other carbon-rich areas. One partner country, Gabon, completed a national carbon inventory. It is also improving its analysis of carbon stocks, which is supporting the creation of a sustainable national land-use plan.

Low-Emissions Opportunities in Agriculture

To assist partner countries in reducing emissions from agriculture and related land use change, USAID and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) are partnering with country experts to identify low-emission opportunities in agriculture that also contribute to food security, with a focus on smallholder farming.

Webinar Series: Land Use and Climate Research by the CGIAR

Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage in the land sector are the focus of research through the CGIAR funded by USAID. A series of webinars occurring in 2019 showcases the collaboration of USAID and the CGIAR to help limit the magnitude of changes to the climate system.

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