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landscape restoration

Impact Evaluation of Landscape Programs in Ethiopia


The overarching goal of this project is to assess the impact of landscape programs on livelihood and resilience outcomes in Ethiopia and inform the future design of the programs. Overall, the study seeks to understand the effects of the landscape programs on the outcomes such as household livelihoods, diversification of income generating activities, agricultural productivity and resilience to extreme events.


The World Bank has been investing for landscape programs in Ethiopia. Despite of the large investments in this area of work, there is little evidence to understand the impact of the landscape projects financed by the World Bank on household livelihoods and resilience. Further understanding and evaluation of impacts of the landscape programs is important for the design of the future investments in Ethiopia and other countries. 

Furthermore, an in-depth analysis on the landscape approach is timely given that PROGREEN, the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes launched on September 23, 2019. PROGREEN is a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund that supports countries’ efforts to improve livelihoods while tackling declining biodiversity, loss of forests, deteriorating land fertility and increasing risks such as uncontrolled forest fires, which are exacerbated by a changing climate. Through an integrated landscape approach, PROGREEN helps countries meet their national and global sustainable development goals and commitments, including poverty reduction, in a cost-effective manner. In addition, the theme of the fourth Forum on Natural Capital Accounting for Better Policy held in November 18-19, 2019 was “Measuring and valuing natural capital for improved landscape management”.


In order to comprehensively assess the impact of the Ethiopia landscape program from both economic and physical aspects, this study is composed of three research topics below.
  • Research Topic 1: Estimating impacts of the land restoration program on livelihoods and resilience in Ethiopia
  • Research Topic 2: Impacts of land restoration program on agricultural productivity and production diversity during and after the 2015/16 severe droughts in Ethiopia
  • Research Topic 3: Use of satellite remote sensing SIF observations to estimate the effects of land restoration programs on land productivity and resilience
The main program outputs will be the following:
  •  Main report for policy-makers and general audience
  •  Supporting technical report
The activity has successfully:
  • Collected and cleaned key datasets required to assess the impact of the Ethiopia landscape program from both economic and physical aspects
  • Developed robust econometric and scientific approaches to measure the program impact
  • Established the key collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to carry out the study. This collaboration is extremely useful as we conduct the impact evaluation of landscape programs in other countries, utilizing the experience and methodology established through this activity.
The preliminary findings from this activity are as follows. First, the landscape project increased household livelihoods, agricultural productivity and resilience to extreme events. Second, the study shows Solar-Induced chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF) remote sensing data could be used as proxy for near-real-time crop growth. The activity has not yet informed/influenced investments, policies, practices, institutions or behaviors of clients, partners or others, but it is planned to do so as it will be disseminated under the umbrella project

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Last Updated : 06-09-2020

An economic cost-benefit analysis of forest conservation and restoration in Nicaragua

Program Summary

This PROFOR activity aimed to provide evidence to the Government of Nicaragua on the economic benefits of forest landscape restoration activities. The knowledge generated from this activity was intended to improve policy makers’ ability to made decisions on investments going towards rural livelihoods and incomes, reduced GHG emissions, and greater climate risk resilience.


Based on climate change projections, water availability is likely to decline in most of Nicaragua's watersheds. A three-year drought, coupled with massive deforestation in the past few decades, has depleted most of Nicaragua’s water sources which is threatening the country’s future water supply. In fact, the country has lost up to 60 percent of its surface water sources and up to 50 percent of its underground sources, which have either dried up or have been polluted. Such diminished water availability will severely impact human health, agricultural productivity, hydropower generation, and a suite of other economic activities.

The government of Nicaragua recognizes that restoring forest cover is indispensable to safeguarding agricultural production and minimizing the impacts of climate variability on economic and human well-being. Under the National Reforestation Plan, the government is not only addressing the reduction of carbon emissions, but also aiming to increase awareness of the importance of reversing deforestation, increasing forest coverage, and improving the production of environmental services provided by forests.

To assist the government’s efforts, PROFOR proposed to provide analysis on the ecosystem service and economic benefits of forest landscape restoration activities, including disseminating information to decision makers on the trade-offs of different restoration scenarios. The results would guide the Nicaraguan government on implementing potential forest landscape restoration programs by providing potential prices for payment for ecosystem services and identifying the low-cost/high-benefit alternatives in watershed conservation, forest protection, and carbon sequestration. PROFOR would generate various restoration and investment scenarios that could open restoration and reforestation opportunities for farmers, local communities, and the private sector, including agribusiness and ecotourism.  


This PROFOR activity consisted of the following tasks:

  • Output 1: Analysis of the costs of environmental degradation. This task aimed to provide the analytical underpinnings to target interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. This task was to estimate the costs of environmental degradation resulting from land degradation and deforestation, droughts, soil degradation, fire, flooding, and other natural disasters. In addition, the analysis was to estimate the costs to Nicaragua associated with climate change.
  • Output 2: Benefit analysis of a potential program for watershed conservation and landscape restoration in Nicaragua. This analysis aimed to estimate the benefits of forest and landscape restoration on the value of multiple ecosystem services across the country by estimating the net value of ecosystem service benefits (such as ecotourism, carbon sequestration, water quality, agriculture, soil protection, etc.) under different reforestation scenarios. It would also explore the economic potential of changing land use (such as degraded agricultural land) to restore native forest, or for agroforestry.

By accomplishing these tasks, the program aimed to inform and improve the Nicaraguan Government’s knowledge on how to promote policies and regulations that increase forest conservation, support a nature-based economy, and increase watershed conservation and landscape restoration in the country.   


Due to civil unrest in the country, work for this activity was frozen, delayed, and although eventually reopened, many limitations to activities were put in place due to continual political tensions. The team had initiated the diagnostics and analysis but was not able to collect all the information needed for the studies. Nevertheless, the team was able to put together a draft/preliminary report for Output 1: Analysis of the costs of environmental degradation. The government was very interested in this activity because of their interest in headwater conservation and landscape restoration. Analysis for Output 2 was partially included in this report as the needed data that was difficult to obtain due to the country’s political crisis.


The preliminary cost of environmental degradation (COED) to Nicaraguan society is estimated at about US$0.9 billion, or 6.7 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016. Among the costs, it is important to note the following:

  • Air pollution stands out as the most important driver of degradation (3.8 percent of GDP). This primarily is due to the impacts caused by household air pollution (about 1,060 premature deaths).
  • Unsafe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene cause significant damage (1 percent of GDP) largely as a result of the effects of inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene on health (about 260 deaths).
  • Agricultural land degradation, deforestation, and natural disasters are also noteworthy because of their negative effects on resource productivity and ecosystem services.
  • In case of devastating natural disaster scenario, cost of natural disasters will be comparable to the average annual total national cost.
  • All zones in Nicaragua appear to have similar COED, but environmental health costs dominate in the Pacific and Central zones, while natural resource degradation dominates in the Atlantic zone.

The findings of the COED in Nicaragua can be useful for future project GEF preparations, SCD, CPF, and DPLs, among others.

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Last Updated : 06-14-2020