Sustainable Landscapes

Speeches Shim

USAID helps partner countries protect, manage, and restore forests and other lands to store carbon while improving livelihoods and resilience. USAID works with communities, businesses, and governments across entire landscapes to have impact at scale.

Deforestation, unsustainable land management, and land degradation lead to, among other things, losses in biodiversity and degraded water resources, and represent nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unsustainable land use often results from agricultural expansion and poor agricultural management, illegal logging, damaging charcoal and timber production, and insecure land and resource rights, among other trends.

Improving forest and other land management not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases carbon storage, but often increases land productivity, improves forest-dependent livelihoods, buffers watersheds and coastlines, protects water resources, maintains habitat for biodiversity, and makes people and places more resilient to natural hazards.

Our Approach

USAID helps partner countries protect, manage, and restore globally important forests, as well as wetlands, peatlands, and agricultural lands where degradation impairs development and drives emissions. USAID helps local institutions improve policies, create incentives for stewardship, promote sound management practices, and build systems to conduct forest inventories and monitor carbon emissions. USAID’s approach promotes systematic, landscape-wide solutions.

USAID has worked with more than two dozen countries to conserve, manage, and restore forests and other landscapes. Through global programs such as SilvaCarbon and SERVIR, more than a dozen countries are better able to monitor and manage their forests.

USAID currently supports country programs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Vietnam, and Zambia; regional programs in Asia, Central Africa, Central America, South America, and West Africa; and global programs such as Global Forest Watch, SERVIR, and SilvaCarbon.

Since 2016, USAID has mobilized more than a half billion dollars of private investment in sustainable landscapes programs. This includes “payment for ecosystem services” programs. In some cases, such as Vietnam, businesses pay landowners or communities to protect their forests to secure ecosystem services such as a sustainable water supply. Other programs generate carbon credits that can be sold domestically or on the international, voluntary carbon market. A third party certifies that greenhouse gas emissions were avoided or additional carbon stored as a result of the landowner’s or forest community’s conservation actions.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: April 29, 2020

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