A conceptual framework for exploring social and institutional dimensions of landscape restoration: The case of four market-based approaches in Kenya

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Juliet Kariuki

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In an era where the socio-economic dimensions of landscape restoration can no longer be ignored, emphasis on equity is increasingly being placed on initiatives such as market-based conservation (MBC) schemes. Despite this emphasis, little attention has been devoted to understanding how and why the interplay between institutional and social dynamics influences the design of MBC programmes and their outcomes. This study begins to address this knowledge gap by developing a conceptual framework which guides analyses of MBC initiatives through two areas of inquiry that explore and interrogate the: i) historical and institutional contexts within which actors emerge and interact to influence equitable socio-economic outcomes, and ii) underlying factors for gender in/exclusion in such programmes. Conducted across four case studies in Kenya – two payments for ecosystem service schemes and two Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes – the study adopts innovative qualitative approaches including Process Netmap, the participatory secret ballot and intra-household in-depth interviews to uncover the multi-faceted drivers and constraints associated with MBC approaches. The results reveal that: i) power imbalances condition socio-economic and environmental outcomes and are both relational and multifaceted, ii) women are excluded from equitable participation in decision-making processes and from receiving direct benefits while men incur unremunerated costs on their labour. The study therefore encourages critical reflection on the extent to which the overall neglect of non-technical aspects in market-based approaches limits their potential to address the very same socio-economic inequalities that are linked with the restoration and degradation of critical landscapes.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration