Spatial Planning for Sustainable Land Use Planning

This assignment developed the first common mapping platform for the Nguti district of Cameroon, which brings together multiple map layers to enable ecological, social and economic values to be considered in unison when making land planning decisions, enabling a transparent and open decision process.

  • The work was contracted by the REDD+ Facility of the European Forest Institute (EFI).
  • LTS led the work, working with Rainbow Consult (Cameroon), ProForest (during the inception phase), and WRI.
  • LTS applied specific technical knowledge on spatial planning tools for forestry.

A new, tailored spatial planning tool was developed for use.


There has been limited experience of drafting land use plans in the region that can reconcile the various interests in land, in a balanced and negotiated manner, in particular in the context of the emerging REDD+ mechanism to valorise carbon stocks. As a result, EFI’s REDD+ Facility identified the need for a transparent spatial planning tool that better addresses both social and environmental concerns as a pre-requisite for the responsible implementation of REDD+.


The LTS team advised EFI on potential tools to assist with spatial planning around land use decisions, and developed a tailored mapping platform, the basis of which was provided by WRI. LTS staff were responsible for the development of:

  • An interactive mapping tool that identifies potential priority areas for development / protection
  • A field assessment protocol.

Value and benefits

This tool will facilitate the transparent sharing of information between multiple stakeholders to explore and discuss potential social, environmental and economic impacts of various land use options (such as palm oil, cocoa, staple food crops for local markets, etc.) and other land uses, such as maintenance of high carbon stock forests for REDD+ projects.

The results will enable and inform the next phase of land use planning in the context of competing land use options.

Support to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund

The IWT Challenge Fund channels UK funding to new and bold measures to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

LTS manages the administration and M&E of both Darwin Initiative and IWT projects.

  • Since 1992 Darwin has funded 997 projects in 159 countries. In 2014 it reached the milestone of over £100M committed since 1992.
  • To date, £9.8M has been committed to 34 projects through the IWT Challenge Fund.
  • Both are contracted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with input from the Department for International Development and the Foreign Commonwealth Office (DEFRA, DFID and FCO).


Illegal wildlife trade is one of the biggest threats to the survival of some of the world’s most threatened species. In February 2014 the UK government hosted The London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which brought together over fifty countries and international organisations to agree new and bold measures to tackle the trade.

Since this time, IWT has emerged as an international priority and IWT Challenge Fund projects also respond to commitments outlined in the Kasane Statement. From an initial £10M committed following the London Conference, the UK Government has now pledged additional funding.

The fund is available to governments, charities and NGOs, social enterprises and businesses, and to partnerships of these organisations. More information on the fund can be found at


LTS’s involvement in the design and implementation of the applications for IWT Challenge Fund included substantive liaison with Government representatives from the 3 departments. Our support to the fund since its inception has included:

  • Design and implementation of application scheme
  • Design and implementation of project monitoring financial management of projects.

Value and benefits

The IWT Challenge Fund has three key objectives

  • developing sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by illegal wildlife trade
  • strengthening law enforcement and the role of the criminal justice system
  • reducing demand for wildlife products.

Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development

The Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development (STEWARD) project is a join investment of Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade Bureau (EGAT), USAID/West Africa and the US Forest Service. It is implemented by Bioclimate Research & Development (BR&D).

LTS provide technical support to the STEWARD Project. The objective of this is to provide an assessment of biomass stocks and biomass stock change between 2007 and 2010 in a specified area of Sierra Leone/Guinea border region.

The assessment is undertaken using multi-regression analysis of RADAR data and generation of biomass maps using a range of biomass-backscatter equations.

Based on best output validation, LTS will then calculate statistics on forest area and biomass stock loss within the time frame investigated.

The project also aims to achieve:

  • Agreement of change classification criteria and project-specific deforestation threshold
  • Advice on RADAR data purchasing from RESTEC
  • Multi-regression analysis of RADAR data and generation of biomass maps using different biomass-backscatter equations
  • Multi-validation of outputs against field data provided by BR&D
  • Generation of biomass stock change statistics and maps

Image credit: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep

Examination of Hectares Indicator for the UK International Climate Fund

The “Hectares Indicator” for assessing area of avoided deforestation is one of the current Key Performance Indicators of the UK International Climate Fund.This indicator is intended to be applicable across the range of current and proposed forestry programmes of the International Climate Fund. The objectives of this assignment are to:

  • determine the fitness for purpose of the hectares indicator,
  • identify ways in which it could be improved, and
  • if the indicator was found to be critically flawed in terms of its practicality and validity of outputs, propose a modified or alternative approach that should be cost-effective and practical to apply

The assignment involves three steps: Analysis of existing hectares indicator methodology, identification of limitations and potential for improvement  

  • Review of international best practice for estimating impacts of avoided deforestation initiatives (scientific methods, other donor programmes, project certification methods)
  • Recommendation of practical indicator approaches, description of strengths, weaknesses and requirements
  • Recommendations for improvement or alternative methods.

LTS is responsible for identification of practical issues and constraints associated with use of the indicator through interviews with DFID Country Office staff and their contractors, and from the staff members’ involvement in applying ICF and other donor forest sector KPIs during previous assignments. This includes:

  • What are the challenges on the ground?
  • What datasets are available to project officers?
  • Discussion with programmes on alternative options

Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

China-UK Collaboration on International Forest Investment & Trade (InFIT)

InFIT aims to reduce the negative impacts of China’s international trade on forest cover and degradation. LTS operates the InFIT Project Management Office (PMO) in Beijing which is responsible for day-to-day operational coordination of activities under this four-year programme and is accountable for its effective and efficient implementation.

  • The £3.9m InFit programme represents ongoing collaboration between the UK and China on forestry and timber legality, through the DFID’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climates-China (FGMC-CN) programme.
  • The main recipients are Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the Ministry of Commerce (MofCoM). The Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), China’s Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC) and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA) are also key implementing partners.

The programme has four outputs around: timber legality verification; guidelines for Chinese companies; sharing tenure reform lessons; capacity and awareness around timber legality.


This programme arose from a 2011 study that: examined international timber legality standards; prepared recommendations for a Chinese Timber Legality Verification Scheme (CTLVS) to ensure that China’s timber imports and exports are legal; and flagged that more work was needed to develop an operational system. Consequently, DFID and the Chinese authorities agreed to continue cooperation on timber legality verification and demonstration of the standards applied by Chinese companies involved in timber production and processing worldwide.


LTS fields a TA team responsible for day-to-day operational coordination of activities under the programme, facilitating stakeholder participation and the implementation of outputs. This includes:

  • Providing key-technical advice to the programme, including coordinating due diligence and comparative analysis of producer/consumer timber legality laws to establish a Chinese Timber Legal Verification System (CTLVs).
  • Administering and monitoring the programme, including funds to implementing partners.

Managing programme implementation, including work planning, backstopping implementing partners, providing technical expertise, overseeing responsible forestry guidelines, networking and promoting the programme outputs, organising events, donor coordination.

Value and benefits

The intended outcomes are that impacts of China’s international trade in timber products and other commodities grown on forest land whose production affects forest degradation are reduced through: measures aimed at eliminating illegally harvested timber from its trade; and codes of practice that promote environmentally and socially sound resource management practices in developing countries.

See Below for InFIT Newsletters:

1st issues:


2nd issues: