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Adaptation-Based Mitigation in Degraded Landscapes Vulnerable to High Climatic Variation

Central America is one of the world regions most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Most countries in the region have high population densities in areas vulnerable to extreme climatic variation, and experience some of the highest rates of deforestation and landscape degradation in Latin America. These conditions directly contribute to exacerbating the negative impacts of destructive climatic events, which affect a significant growing percent of the population, the landscape, and the economy.

Governments of the region are trying to respond to this new reality by designing and implementing effective policies and programs, and uniting international efforts to help communities living in the most vulnerable landscapes to recover their resilience and adapt to increasingly frequent and damaging meteorological phenomena. El Salvador, for example, has launched the National Program for the Restoration of Ecosystems and Rural Landscapes (PREP) and is preparibng REDD+ readiness plans with an emphasis on Adaptation-based Mitigation.

However the institutional efforts, social capital and financial resources that are needed to address these challenges are enormous. For such policies to be successful, coordination and synergies among the different relevant central (e.g. ministries of agriculture, rural development and environment) and local (e.g. municipalities and community organizations) stakeholders is critical. At local levels, steps to induce collective action and governance and improve access to innovative technologies and extension services also need to be taken.


Through analysis of three case studies—one in Honduras and two in El Salvador—PROFOR helped to identify policies and institutional arrangements that can make a difference. The key factors looked at were the heterogeneity of interests and rights of the actors who influence the landscape, social capital in the territory, knowledge and innovation management systems, and the use of direct incentives and other forms of compensation.

In Honduras, the most successful case, stakeholders were able to rally around an urgent social and environmental situation of degraded land: without national government involvement, farmers agreed to stop traditional burning for cropland so that lands could be restored. This change in practice was enabled by local knowledge that documented and offered new options for landscape restoration. The no-burn restoration practice had transaction costs for farmers and required the use of incentives accompanied by regulations, with the territory’s different municipalities applying fines to eradicate the use of burning in agriculture. In the two other cases, different interests among stakeholders impeded collective action.

A set of recommendations regarding the policy and institutional arrangements required for successful landscape-level actions are now informing local, national, and regional dialogues on sustainable landscape planning and management regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation. Additionally, the activity developed guidelines for the contribution of REDD+ to the revitalization of the depressed rural economy, which provided a bridge for working with other government priorities such as education, public security, and productivity.


This activity and its final strategic report will serve as a valuable input for the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s REDD+ Readiness Preparation activity in El Salvador. More specifically, the strategic report will aid that country’s REDD+ Readiness in terms of organization among government ministries, consultation with relevant actors, and overall national REDD+ strategy. This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available. Follow us on twitter or join our mailing list for regular updates.

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Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 02-24-2017