Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Place-based solutions for global social-ecological dilemmas: An analysis of locally grounded, diversified, and cross-scalar initiatives in the Amazon

Londres, Marina; Salk, Carl; Andersson, Krister P.; Tengo, Maria; Brondizio, Eduardo S.; Lopes, Gabriela Russo; Siani, Sacha M. O.; Molina-Garzon, Adriana; Sonetti-Gonzalez, Tais; Montoya, Diego Razuri; Bartolome, Centro; de Castro, Fabio; Tourne, Daiana C. M.


The Amazon has a diverse array of social and environmental initiatives that adopt forest-based land-use practices to promote rural development and support local livelihoods. However, they are often insufficiently recognized as transformative pathways to sustainability and the factors that explain their success remain understudied. To address this gap, this paper proposes that local initiatives that pursue three particular pathways are more likely to generate improvements in social-ecological outcomes: (1) maintaining close connections with local grassroots, (2) pursuing diversity in productive activities performed and partnership choices, and (3) developing cross-scale collaborations. To test these ideas we collected and analyzed observations of 157 initiatives in Brazil and Peru, applying a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses. Our results show that initiatives maintaining groundedness in representing the interests and concerns of local actors while partnering with other organizations at multiple scales are more likely to develop joint solutions to social-ecological problems. Partnerships and support from external organizations may strengthen and enhance local capabilities, providing a platform for negotiating interests and finding common ground. Such diversified pathways demonstrate the power of local actors to transcend their own territories and have broader impacts in sustainability objectives. Our findings highlight the need to make governmental and non-governmental support (e.g., financial, technical, political) available according to local needs to enable local initiatives' own ways of addressing global environmental change.


Place-based initiatives; Amazon basin; Stakeholder diversity; Rural livelihoods; Forest governance; Cross-scalar interactions; Brazil; Peru

Published in

Global Environmental Change
2023, Volume: 82, article number: 102718

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography
    Environmental Sciences

    Publication Identifiers


    Permanent link to this page (URI)