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Never before has the interface between environment and society been such a key determinant for economic development. LTS has built a team of multi-ecosystem specialists who are able to provide technical expertise at the ecosystem and landscape level. They take integrated approaches that deliver development benefits to the poor.

It is our belief at LTS that markets for ecosystem services can improve livelihoods and well-being, promote local sustainable forest management and strengthen community-based institutions, as well as enhance ecosystem health and secure new sources of funding for biodiversity conservation. In essence, they aim to fulfil a dual mandate of environmental sustainability and socio-economic development.


Our practical work on ecosystems is best demonstrated by our ability to deliver a range of services:

  • Land-use planning we can deliver integrated and participatory land-use assessments of a variety of land use options through the application of spatial and remote sensing methodologies and groundtruthing in order to prepare comprehensive land use decision tools.
  • Resource assessment we can forecast the merchantable volumes of timber and non-timber products that can be harvested from a land area.
  • Economic and financial analysis we can conduct a cost benefit analysis of interventions, incorporating ecosystem values, considering broader livelihood and distributional concerns, tracing both upstream and downstream impacts of the proposed interventions in terms of their influence on the provision of ecosystem services.
  • Biological studies and assessments we conduct analyses and biodiversity surveys and baselines as well as measure economic, ecological and social impacts from improved ecosystem, habitat and species conservation.
  • Watershed services we provide services related to planning and monitoring of water resources, assisting watershed landholders and downstream beneficiaries with resource management in return for payments, advising water-polluting companies on how to offset such pollution by investing in watershed protection elsewhere.
  • Carbon sequestration we develop and support voluntary and Kyoto compliant site-specific low carbon forestry and land-use projects, establishing baselines from our detailed understanding of the scientific and technological basis of carbon uptake, storage and recycling within rural ecosystems.
  • Social and poverty analysis we develop socio-economic profiles, establish poverty status and safety nets, identify livelihood strategies (assets, capabilities and activities), and conduct beneficiary assessments and gender mainstreaming.
  • Enterprise development we can assist in defining income generation activities, conducting market analysis, supporting value chain development, brokering relations with service providers, and demand driven extension services.
  • Park management we have helped some of our clients prepare management, operational and business plans, install park infrastructure, support eco-tourism facilities, develop robust funding mechanisms and appropriate compensation arrangements.
  • Strategic environmental assessment we can conduct systematic processes for evaluating the environmental quality and consequences, of visions and development intentions incorporated in policy, planning or programme initiatives, to ensure full integration of relevant biophysical, economic, social and political considerations
Mid-term Review of Malawi Livelihood programs
Last Updated: July 14th, 2016

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe signed four new development programmes within the Agriculture and Food Security Portfolio in 2014, all of which have an agreement period of five years.

All four contracts specify that a Mid Term Review shall be conducted by November 2016, and these must be covered above the grant. The main purpose of the assignment is to assess the achievement of the programs against the goals, impacts and outputs outlined in the projects document, and propose recommendations for future work and support.

The main purpose of the services provided will be:

  • Assess the achievements of the projects against the stated goals, impacts and outputs; and
  • Assess the relevance of these projects to the national food security policies, and overall Norwegian development objectives in Malawi.
GROW: Community Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan Development
Last Updated: July 13th, 2016

GROW is a private sector development initiative operating in Liberia to promote pro-poor economic growth and stability through partnerships with the private sector. Its objective is substantially increased incomes and employment opportunities for a large number of poor women, men and youth, created through agricultural market system change.

As documented in GROW’s Market System Analysis, the oil palm sector is expected to be of vital importance to Liberia. The Liberian oil palm sector is dominated by multinational oil palm producers that have been granted significant concessions by the Government of Liberia (GoL). In the Concession Agreements, the GoL has committed itself to raising development finance to establish outgrower schemes. However, little progress has been made in promoting investment and raising finance for community oil palm outgrower schemes since the four large international concessions began operations in Liberia in 2010 (Golden Veroleum Liberia, Sime Darby Plantation Liberia, Equatorial Palm Oil and Maryland Oil Palm Plantation). This is a systemic constraint to smallholder farmers benefiting from growth in Liberia’s oil palm industry. As a result, this assignment is focused on developing a robust Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan that takes into account Liberia’s unique cultural and land tenure context. The output will be informed by best practice and lessons learned from oil palm outgrower schemes in different parts of the world, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Africa.

Formulation of the Future Cooperation in the Kenyan Forestry Sector
Last Updated: June 30th, 2016

The purpose of the assignment is to design the future Finnish-Kenyan cooperation in the field of forest sector development. This is a continuation of the long collaboration of more than 25 years that the Government of the Kenya and the Government of Finland have had in forest sector development. The most recent collaboration was the 2007-2016 bilateral program “Miti Mingi Maisha Bora – Support to Forest Sector Reform (MMMB)” which is aiming for a “a reduction in poverty through ensuring that the forest sector contributes effectively and sustainably to improving the lives of the poor, restoring the environment, and aiding the economic recovery and growth of Kenya, within the context of Vision 2030.”

The assignment consists of two phases; identification and formulation. During the Identification Phase (May – July), LTS is involved in analysis of different needs and opportunities in the forestry sector. 2 – 3 Concept Notes will be prepared describing different proposals for future cooperation in the Kenyan forestry sector. The concept notes will present clearly different, realistic project alternatives in terms of project approach, strategy and modality. The notes will provide the competent authorities within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) and the Government of Kenya an analytical base for decisions on the future cooperation’s strategic scope and approach.

Authorities will analyse the Concept Notes and choose one for development into the programme for cooperation in Kenyan forestry sector. The process to achieve this will involve country missions where interviews with forest actors in Kenya, group discussion and stakeholders’ workshops will be organised. During the Formulation Phase (August – September), LTS will be involved in developing the chosen Concept Note into a draft programme document, which will be submitted to MFA.

The final output of the study was the production of the “Review of Governance of the Forest Sector in Kenya Report”.

Photo credit: Michael Gachanja

Establishment and Management of a Technical Assistance Facility under the Programme of Support to Agriculture
Last Updated: February 23rd, 2016

Rwanda has achieved rapid growth and poverty reduction over the last decade; the agricultural sector has played a major part in this success and will continue to play a key role in the structural transformation of the economy in Rwanda.  The latest agricultural strategy (PSTA III) contains four main programmes: programme 1: Agriculture and Animal Resource Intensification; programme 2: Research, Technology Transfer, and Organisation of Farmers; programme 3: Value Chain Development and Private Sector Investment and; 4: Institutional Results-Focused Development and Agricultural Cross-Cutting Issues (including climate and environment, gender and nutrition).

As part of DFID Rwanda’s Programme of Support to Agriculture (PoSA), a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) aims to ensure increases in agriculture productivity are sustainable and benefit the poor. The purpose of the £4 million TAF is to provide additional capacity, expertise, knowledge and evidence to support the Government of Rwanda in the implementation of the latest Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA III) which covers the period 2013-2017, and to help inform the development of the next Strategic Plan.

The targeted outcome of the programme is that the capacity and systems for inclusive and sustainable growth that benefits the poor are in place. This outcome will be achieved through the delivery of three outputs:

  • Output 1: MINAGRI agricultural sector Management Information System is strengthened, operational and utilised.
  • Output 2: Government capacity on key cross-cutting issues (gender, climate change and nutrition) is strengthened.
  • Output 3: Improved knowledge and analysis on key cross cutting issues by MINAGRI.

LTS is advising the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources and its related implementing agencies, the Rwanda Agriculture Board and other Government departments involved in the delivery of PSTA III, at both central and decentralised levels to improve knowledge and analysis, M&E systems design and capacity building on climate change and gender.

LTS plays a central role in the provision of technical assistance and capacity building;

  • Leading on the development of a functional Management Information Systems which is aligned to the Agriculture Sector Investment Plan.
  • Leading on the design of a comprehensive results-based measurement system, conducting the baseline study and capacity building to roll out the system nation-wide.
  • Mentoring the Government gender focal points and supporting them in implementing activities identified in our functional review, including new research to examine the correlation between gender inequality poverty, nutrition and agricultural practices
  • Strengthening technical skills and capacity on: (a) cross cutting issues of climate and environment, and gender; (b) improving the management of knowledge and generation of evidence to effectively implement and monitor progress of the PSTA III.
  • Operationalising day-to-day activities of the TAF, ensuring appropriate systems and controls are in place.

The LTS team is fully embedded in the Government institutions.

Study of Value Chain Development under the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) II in Ethiopia
Last Updated: January 25th, 2016

The direct, near term objective of this “Study of value chains under the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) II in Ethiopia” assignment is to propose the development of value chains for selected commodities in the SLMP and identify policy gaps hindering involvement of the private sector in these value chains, including possible options for local processing.

  • The Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) II is one of the Government of Ethiopia’s flagship Programmes with the objective of reversing land and environmental degradation.
  • The SLMP II phase of the Programme (2014- 2018) is a multi-donor support effort to scale up landscape restoration in 135 watersheds distributed over six regional states namely Amhara, Benshangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray.
  • Norway is one of the funders of the Programme with the total amount of NOK 305 million.
  • Norway’s support is combined with resources from the World Bank IDA, GEF and LCDF to provide a total Programme budget of USD 107.61 million. SLMP II has been successful in halting land degradation, raising biomass productivity (grassland, trees and crops) and yields in the respective landscapes.

Apart from the local market and the available knowledge, SLMP interventions are not linked to value chain development and market access is therefore a constraint to the development of livelihoods and protection of natural resource management gains within the programme.

  • The value chain analysis consists of value chain mapping, research and analysis. The key study aims are:
  • Review the prospect of developing key commodity value chains for selected commodities relevant to the SLMP objectives.
  • Assess policies and marked factors that might limited the involvement of private sector in these value chains.
  • Provide guidance on how such value chains can be developed for relevant commodity groups under SLMP, or in partnership with other Programmes.
  • The goal of the assignment is to support SLMP to become sustainable beyond the project lifetime.
Review of Governance of the Forest Sector in Kenya
Last Updated: January 1st, 2016

LTS conducted a study between February and May 2016 for Kenya Forest Service to provide a clear picture on how governance aspects of the forest sector agenda have taken shape since a similar study was carried out in 2011. Kenya’s forest sector has been going through reforms since 2007 when the Forests Act (2005) was enacted. The Government of Finland and the Government of Kenya (GoK) have supported the reform process through the “Miti Mingi Maisha Bora (MMMB) – Support to Forest Sector Reform in Kenya” Programme, 2009-2016.

In 2011, MMMB supported a study on governance in the forest sector. The study was organised along five major building blocks of good forest governance as defined by the World Bank’s 2009 “Roots for Good Forest Outcomes: An Analytical Framework for Governance Reforms”. The building blocks include: (i) transparency, accountability, and public participation; (ii) stability of forest institutions and conflict management; (iii) quality of forest administration; (iv) coherence of forest legislation and rule of law; and (v) economic efficiency, equity and incentives. The 2011 governance study was presented in the form of a “Strategy Note for Forest Governance Reform in Kenya”.

Based on the findings of the 2011 review, a “traffic” trend analysis was undertaken to determine the directional trend in forest sector governance. The aim of this analysis was to identify key areas where changes, positive or negative, have taken place. Outcomes associated with the changes were also analysed and, based on the assessment, actions were identified and proposed to move the forest sector reform process forward .

Photo credit: Michael Gachanja.

Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management in the Heart of Borneo
Last Updated: October 16th, 2015

The Heart of Borneo region (HOB) covering about primary 22 million hectares comprises one-third of the island of Borneo, has been identified as the focus of an international conservation agreement with the Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. The HOB region holds an estimated 6 percent of global biodiversity, primarily in its tropical rainforests, and provides ecosystem services for 12 million local and indigenous people. Despite its importance, current deforestation rates average 3.2 percent per annum and one third of the islands forest have been lost in the last few decades.

The effectiveness and long-term conservation of HOB region requires the full support of communities and local authorities, as well as self-financing resources. The Government of Indonesia wishes to pilot an incentive based payment for ecosystem services (PES) financing scheme for forestry and biodiversity management. Other incentives include the integration, sequestration and financing by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), renewable energy from micro hydro power plant, local water supply and ecotourism development.

LTS’ role as the Project Management Consultant (PMC) is designed to assist the GoI deliver the HOB initiative through three inter-related outputs:

  • Output 1. Strengthen capacity and institutions for sustainable forest and biodiversity management
  • Output 2. Exercise the REDD+ implementation at local level
  • Output 3. Establish pilot area for PES and sustainable financing schemes for forest and biodiversity management

LTS works closely with the GoI Project National Coordinator and Project Field Coordinator to deliver, commission and supervise: (i) capacity building related to sustainable forest and biodiversity management in Nunukan, Malinau, Kapuas Hulu and Melawi districts; and (ii) development of one or more pilot model(s) for REDD+ and PES within the community forest in the Forest Management Unit (FMU) of the District of Kapuas Hulu and District of Malinau.

Evaluation of the Land Rights and Natural Resources Programme
Last Updated: October 1st, 2015

Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO) has been implementing since 2002 the Land Rights and Natural Resource Management Program (LRNRM) in 4 counties (Kajiado, Narok, Nakuru and Baringo) in Kenya since 2000.

The LRNRM program has four major components;

  • Awareness raising and capacity building
  • Public litigation
  • Lobbying and advocacy
  • Networking and collaboration

After successful implementation of the third phase of the LRNRM program, LTS was contracted for the evaluation exercise that took place in November 2015.

Scoping Study for Biomass Partnership Fund
Last Updated: September 30th, 2015

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) is an industry-led initiative formed in 2013 by major European utilities that use biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets, in large thermal power plants. The partnership includes seven critical market players using woody biomass for large scale heat and power generation in the European Union:

A key objective of the partnership is: “To promote enhanced sustainable forest management and greater uptake of existing efficient and internationally recognised, third party verified forest certification schemes in key wood baskets”. SBP recognises the credibility of existing forest certification schemes (FSC/PEFC) and does not wish to compete with or replicate them.

A longer term aim of the SBP is to help projects that are working to support sustainable forest management and to increase the uptake of FSC and PEFC certification in key wood baskets. In addition, a condition of the SBP Standard is for organisations to engage in partnerships in areas from which biomass is obtained.

The SBP board commissioned LTS International to undertake a scoping study to “investigate options for a Sustainable Biomass Partnership Fund to support the uptake of certified forests in biomass supply baskets”. The key aims of the scoping study is as follows:

Identify the likely range of projects that could be funded based on comparative projects and projects currently being implemented or proposed in biomass supply baskets.
Understand most effective approach to administer the fund to ensure its objectives are met.
Explore opportunities for co-funding and co-operation with other funders.

This scoping study primary focus is the Southeast US supply chain basket. The Baltics, Iberia, and Canada are also considered.
Services provided by LTS International Ltd.
LTS has been contracted to undertake this desk-based scoping study to review options for consideration in the development of a SBP Fund.

The objective of an SBP fund would be to increase forest certification and promote Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in biomass supply baskets.

The study included telephone and skype interviews with a number of key informants and follow up on-line research. The study also draws on the experience of LTS in managing funds with similar objectives to the SBP over the last 10 years. LTS is providing key-technical advice to recommend options for the fund structure, objectives, governance and financing mechanism. The study also includes a review of current and recent projects which overlap with the SBP fund both in SE US and other areas; identifying opportunities for collaborative and co-funding opportunities..

Evaluation of the Conservation and Sustainable Development Program
Last Updated: September 29th, 2015

MacArthur foundation has been implementing the Conservation and Development Strategy 2011-2020 Strategic Framework. They have supported 210 grants totalling $ 70,387,350 in the Mekong, Tropical Andes, Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa. There has also been emphasis of two global drivers of ecosystem decline namely: understanding China’s natural resource use and consumption patterns and the expansion of industrial scale agriculture. In addition emphasis has been on coastal marine management.
The purpose of the evaluation is to understand: 1) the efficacy of the program’s approach and its outcomes and impact to date; 2) the relevance of the program and its priorities with respect to the problem of global biodiversity loss and the potential for philanthropy to catalyse effective solutions; and 3) the contribution of the program to climate change mitigation and ways to increase its impact.

The evaluation is an opportunity to learn and adjust for the Foundation so that they know how to adjust their strategy and grant making to maximize impact this will be done through:

  • Assessing the efficacy outcomes and impact of the strategic framework to date
  • Assessing the impact of the strategic framework to date and future impacts
  • Assessing the relevance of the strategic framework and identifying course correction to increase future impacts
  • Assessing the contribution of the strategic framework to climate change mitigation and adaptation to increase impact

LTS has employed a theory based evaluation strategy based on a theory of change.

Service areas:
climate change