One of the most innovative approaches proposed for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry is to invest in the development of a set of 'sentinel landscapes'. This approach responds to a key recommendation from the 2009 Stripe Review of Social Sciences in the CGIAR commissioned by the CGIAR Science Council.
A sentinel landscape is a geographic area or set of areas bound by a common issue, in which a broad range of biophysical, social, economic and political data are monitored, collected with consistent methods and interpreted over the long term. These long-term data are essential for addressing development, resource sustainability and scientific challenges, such as linking biophysical processes to human reactions and understanding the impacts of those reactions on ecosystems. However, the major justification for sentinel landscapes is the need for a common observation ground where reliable data from the biophysical and social sciences can be tracked simultaneously and over time so that long-term trends can be detected, and society can make mitigation, adaptation and best-bet choices.
At the global scale, the data generated will fit into a global analysis of networks including other (humid) sentinel landscapes while providing a "dry-land ecosystem" perspective to understand issues and processes that could be relevant to managing other similar ecosystems worldwide.
Sentinel Landscapes Sites
Regional Sentinel Landscapes
Western Borneo Sentinel Landscape: The three regencies this Sentinel Landscape is concerned with are: Kapuas Hulu, Sintang and Ketapang. These regencies represent a gradient of forest degradation balanced by traditional agroforestry systems, which are impacted by the development of monoculture plantations, mainly oil palm The potential impact of the growth of oil palm plantations remains unclear and presents a major challenge to the regencies.
Sumatra Sentinel Landscape: The transect includes large parts of Sumatra's National Parks and protected areas alongside globally significant biodiversity, where local use of very rich flora and fauna is extensive. Hilly and lowland areas are mosaics of dynamics land uses by smallholder farmers.