Partnering with cattle ranchers for forest landscape restoration

Partnering with cattle ranchers for forest landscape restoration


In order to address land degradation due to agricultural expansion and intensification throughout Latin America, silvopastoral systems are being promoted as a forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach. Yet, the success of these strategies rely on ranchers voluntary participation and full adoption at a regional scale. The author recognizes a knowledge gap in regards to why ranchers are driven to adopt silvopastoral systems and thus seeks to understand this issue through the examination of a cast study in Colombia. 

Goals & Methods

The goal of this study was to gain an understanding of ranchers perceptions about the ways improved management and conservation practices, such as silvopastoral and FLR, fit into their overall production strategy in order to inform rancher engagement in large-scale restoration projects. The study developed and employed two surveys, one for ranchers on their experiences and perceptions of conservation-oriented practices and one for extension agents on their perceptions of ranchers. The surveys were conducted between June and September 2017 within the Mainstreaming Sustainable Cattle Ranching (MSCR) project.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The study found that ranchers are incorporating practices that they believe are improvign productivity, which are driven by utilitarian values, and/or addressing land degradation and climate change, which is driven by stewardship. Still, these practices are severly limited due to input costs and labor shortages. The author argues for flexible hybrid incentive schemes that incorporate support for immediate implementation with smaller monetary incentives that recognize good stewardship in order to assist ranchers in overcoming barriers and achieving effective conservation and restoration outcomes. 


Calle A. Partnering with cattle ranchers for forest landscape restoration. Ambio. 2019;49:593–604. doi:10.1007/s13280-019-01224-8.