Attempts to link conservation and development by putting environmental assets into the hands of the poor are all too often restricted to localized project activities. In addition, most countries' poverty alleviation strategies fail to recognize the importance of the environment as a sector, taking it only into account as a cross-cutting issue such as environmental health or environmental education. In practice this means missing a golden opportunity to use the only asset that is readily available to the poor, but which they are often unable to exploit productively and sustainably due to legal, technical and other constraints. Traditionally, environment ministries have excluded themselves from the poverty debate. They now need to more fully engage in broader sustainable development issues, assuming an active role in promoting the environment as a key poverty reduction sector and building a convincing case for greater national and donor investment in biological assets for the benefit of poor people.
This is why Livelihoods and Landscapes goes beyond the project level and addresses all of these issues across multiple sites to demonstrate the economic value of forests for the forest dependent communities.