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Don’t be afraid of landscapes complexity, expert says

“The fact that it is complex does not mean it has to be complicated,” explained Kwesi Atta-Krah.
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Experts believe better managing multiple landscapes uses will require a “major mindset change.”

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BOGOR, Indonesia—Balancing the many competing demands on rural lands is inherently complex—and researchers need to embrace this, according to a leading rural development specialist.

“We need to not be afraid of complexity,” said Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, a global initiative that uses research to boost the incomes of rural farmers in the tropics.

Speaking at the recent CGIAR Development Dialogues in New York, Atta-Krah advocated for holistic “landscape” approaches to managing multiple land uses such as agriculture and forests as the only way to responsibly balance the tradeoffs among them. “We don’t have an option,” he said.

Doing so will require a “major mindset change” among researchers, he said, to step outside their specialty areas to see the bigger picture—and to accept the complex nature of landscapes.

“The fact that it is complex does not mean it has to be complicated,” he said.

Watch a video interview with Kwesi Atta-Krah, above.

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