Scoping studies

These scoping studies have all contributed to shaping the REDAA programme strategy, identifying research-to-action gaps, challenges and opportunities to help people and nature thrive together.

Root causes of environmental degradation

Ian Scoones, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

April 2022

What is environmental degradation and what are its causes? It seems an obvious question, but it’s not. This short study identifies five explanations of the root causes of environmental degradation widely applied in policy debates and promoted by different actors. Each suggests a very different interpretation of causes and effects with contrasting implications for research design, policy and practice.

How research influences government action for nature

Xiaoting Hou-Jones, James Mayers, Steve Bass and Dilys Roe, International Institute for Environment and Development 

September 2022

An overwhelming amount of research calls for governments to take urgent action to secure and foster nature’s benefits for the planet and for human livelihoods and wellbeing at local, national and international levels. Too often this evidence is ignored, but when decisions do carefully draw on research, it is more likely the right action will be taken.

Drawing on literature and 11 real-life cases, the study examines the basic principles behind how to improve the use of research in governments’ decisions for better impacts on nature. It highlights the practical constraints for putting these principles into practice and five potential tactics to overcome those constraints.

Intersectional inequalities

Rebecca Elmhirst, School of Applied Sciences, University of Brighton

April 2022

Synergies between biodiversity and land degradation goals and reducing gender and intersectional inequalities cannot be presumed, they must be created and nurtured.

This study explores intersectionality as a critical concept and tool to address social inequalities in research and actions to reverse environmental degradation. It explores the ways in which an intersectional approach has thus far been adopted and identifies areas that require further attention for meaningful equity in environmental degradation/restoration contexts.

Trade-offs between poverty alleviation and environmental restoration

Charis Enns, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

March 2022

Both poverty alleviation and ecosystem restoration currently sit high on international agendas. Though there are trade-offs in practice to achieving those goals. This scoping study provides an overview of the current research landscape on trade-offs between environmental restoration and poverty alleviation. It first outlines strengths and gaps in existing research and then identifies emerging issues and trends for future research and actions.

Low tech, bottom up, place-based approaches

Ebony Holland, International Institute for Environment and Development

April 2022

The 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystems is clear: biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history but declining less rapidly on land managed by Indigenous Peoples than on other lands.

This study looks at the evidence and builds the case for including ‘low-tech, bottom-up and place-based approaches’ more prominently in efforts to address poverty and environmental degradation. It outlines the critical role of local communities and Indigenous Peoples in driving locally-led action and considers how to create an enabling environment where top-down and bottom-up approaches work synergistically.

The development of innovative landscape management regimes and nature-based solutions

Judith Fisher, Tetra Tech International Development Europe Ltd

April 2022

Through a literature review, this scoping study highlights knowledge gaps and existing approaches to reverse environmental degradation in sub-Sahara Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia. It also identifies opportunities for further research and action to address those gaps and support proven, effective approaches to help people and nature thrive together in those regions.

Research-to-action priorities for the Reversing Environmental Degradation in Africa and Asia (REDAA) Programme in Southeast Asia

Sophie Rose Lewis, David Gritten, Ronnakorn Triraganon, RECOFTC

December 2022

Through a literature review, key informant interviews and field visits (to Tonle Sap Cambodia, Riau Indonesia, and Nan Thailand), and the use of a set of evaluation criteria, this study proposes 11 research-to-action priority outcomes for improving evidence, tools and governance systems. 

These will contribute to achieving a transition away from practices and processes that produce degradation towards those that deliver greater ecological productivity and social equitability. 

The study also identifies 13 potential priority landscapes for REDAA interventions using a further set of criteria. Consultation on these findings in Southeast Asia will be conducted in early 2023.