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5. Carry out monitoring and learning

Evaluate the 4 Returns impact in the landscape, reflect on what you learn, and adjust the landscape plan if necessary.

Impact measurement, collective learning and “adaptive management” are especially important in the rapidly evolving contexts in which landscape plans are implemented –ensuring the plan stays aligned to the vision. Adaptive management, or learning by doing, is a systematic process for continually improving practices by learning from the outcomes of previously employed practices. The positive impact created can facilitate the replication and upscaling of impact within the landscape. And it can be a catalyst for other landscapes, supporting the movement and wider system that enables landscape restoration. Building up evidence and sharing learnings, inside and outside of the landscape, are critical for that. 

The purpose of this section is to evaluate the impact of 4 Returns interventions in the landscape, reflect on lessons learned, and adjust the landscape plan if necessary. Here, stakeholders assess the outcomes of landscape actions against agreed key performance indicators. The results and lessons can be shared widely to mobilise greater support and participation. 

In the chapter, Monitoring the 4 Returns, you’ll learn about the importance of measuring the impact of your holistic landscape restoration initiative. The chapter guides you through the steps needed to create your own 4 Returns monitoring plan. We introduce the 4 Returns indicator menu which you can use to determine what indicators are relevant and feasible in your context.

The final chapter of this guidebook, Storytelling, highlights the transformative power of stories in the context of holistic landscape restoration. You’ll learn how storytelling is a powerful tool in all phases of the 4 Returns process, and the power of stories for gaining insight and for communicating your impact.

Envisaged outcomes

  • Thorough understanding of the landscape’s history, characteristics, and current state. This includes identification of land uses (the 3 zones) and assessing the state of 4 Returns in the landscape (including the root causes of degradation and future challenges), commonly referred to as 4 Returns diagnosis.
  • Understanding of stakeholders’ interests. This is about acknowledging stakeholder perspectives and negotiating an inclusive future for collaboration in the landscape.
  • Understanding of key restoration and regeneration opportunities in the landscape. Assessment of landscape opportunities (including carbon projects) and future scenarios for optimising the 4 Returns.

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