Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning


Developing cost-effective and participatory methods for MEL as well as measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) is key to measuring the success of initiatives and enabling adaptive management. Setting cost-effective indicators that support multiple goals and targets, and building the capacities of local communities and other stakeholders involved in monitoring the initiative helps ensure accuracy in data collection. Efforts are needed to generate more comprehensive reviews of integrated land use initiatives and their outcomes to gain wider support for the approach and prove its effectiveness. The creation of knowledge-sharing platforms where initiatives can report successful practices and lessons learned to a broader community of practitioners is also vital to the field’s ability to implement more effective integrated land use initiatives in the future and move toward a collective, comprehensive framework.

Key Elements

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Best Practices

USE MEASURABLE, SIMPLE, COST-EFFECTIVE INDICATORS: Develop indicators that align with local needs and capacities. Where possible, align indicators with subnational, national, and international climate and development goals.

ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS: Involve stakeholders in as many stages of MEL as possible, including the development of indicators, data collection, and adaptive management. Build stakeholder capacity through trainings.

ENABLE ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT: Build adaptive management into the MEL framework, and use the monitoring process to determine which interventions are working, and where improvements are needed.


CLUMondo Land Systems Simulation Model
CLUMondo, developed by the Environmental Geography Group at VU University Amsterdam, is free software that can be used to model land system change.
Available at:

Global Biodiversity Model for Policy Support (GLOBIO)
Developed by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the GLOBIO model helps practitioners and policymakers quantify the human impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. GLOBIO is connected to the IMAGE model (see IMAGE, beIow). The IMAGE-GLOBIO framework has been used for many environmental assessments, including for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available at: Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment (IMAGE) Developed by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the IMAGE model framework simulates interactions between human society, the climate, and the biosphere. The framework can help users explore the long-term impacts of changes resulting from environmental and social factors, including climate change, biodiversity, and human well-being.
Available at:

The Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-Offs (InVEST)
InVEST, developed by the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, is a suite of open-source software that helps practitioners map and value ecosystem services.
Available at:

The Landscape Performance Scorecard (LPS)
Stakeholders score and qualitatively assess their landscape based on 20 outcome-oriented criteria and linked indicators related to conservation, production, livelihood, and institutional goals. The data are displayed in an Excel spreadsheet and a spider diagram to aid multisector discussion on the needs of the landscape; determine interventions; and track changes in the landscape over time.
Tool submitted by Louise Buck for the Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Initiative.
Available at:

A Landscape Perspective on Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Management: Trainer’s Manual
Developed by EcoAgriculture Partners, Cornell University, the Environmental Resources Management Center for Sustainable Development, and TerrAfrica, this manual helps SLM professionals train others in effective integrated landscape management monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
Authors: Louise Buck, Raffaela Kozar, John Recha, Ayal Desalegn, Chris Planicka, and Abigail Hart
Available at:

Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human Well-being (MESH)
MESH, developed by the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, allows users to calculate and map ecosystem services under various possible land use management interventions.
Available at:

Open FORIS software
Developed by FAO, this software facilitates data collection, analysis, and reporting. Open FORIS can be used for: forest inventories; climate change reporting; socioeconomic surveys; biodiversity assessments; land use, land use change, and forestry measurement; deforestation monitoring with remote sensing; and detecting desertification.
Available at:

Operational Guidelines for the Design, Implementation, and Harmonization of Monitoring and Evaluation Systems for Climate-Smart Agriculture
Developed by FAO, these guidelines help practitioners find common indicators from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Paris Agreement that can help harmonize M&E systems for climate-smart agriculture.
Available at:

Resilience Diagnostic and Decision Support Tool
Developed by the Turkana County government in Kenya in partnership with ICRAF, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Agile and Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI), this tool helps practitioners with decision making and resilience planning through data visualization. The tool divides data into thematic modules, including livestock, nutrition, land heath, and energy.
Available on the ICRAF Geoscience Lab Landscape Portal at:

Spatial Agent
This app, developed by the World Bank, provides users with interactive maps and charts to visualize spatial and temporal data from national, regional, and global datasets.
Available at:

Strengthening the Social Impacts of Sustainable Landscapes Programs: A Practitioner’s Guidebook to Strengthen and Monitor Human Well-Being Outcomes
Developed by TNC, this guide helps practitioners strengthen the social outcomes of land use programs through their design, implementation, and monitoring.
Authors: Supin Wongbusarakum, Erin Myers Madeira, and Herlina Hartanto
Available at: conservationgateway

Success from the Ground Up: Participatory Monitoring and Forest Restoration
Developed by CIFOR, this report offers a review of lessons learned from participatory monitoring.
Authors: Kristen Evans and Manuel R. Guariguata Available at:

Understanding Ecoagriculture: A Framework for Measuring Landscape Performance
Buck et al’s framework for assessing landscape performance captures measurements related to process, intervention, and threat reduction. It is useful in landscape programs, where direct measurements are often impossible. This approach was designed to complement existing, project-based monitoring and evaluation.
Authors: Louise E. Buck, Jeffrey C. Milder, Thomas A. Gavin, and Ishani Mukherjee
Available at:

Developed by scientists at ICRAF and the University of Copenhagen, the VegetationMap4Africa project provides a set of tools to provide a baseline for landscape assessment; to predict distribution of and variation in plant species; as an extension tool for farmers adopting sustainable practices; to provide a baseline for forecasts of land use change; as a management tool for ecosystems; and as a tool for the protection and restoration of ecosystems.
Available at: