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3ie-LIDC Seminar: Land-use change and forestry programmes: Mapping evidence on effects on greenhouse gas emissions and human welfare outcomes

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 17:15 to 18:45
LIDC Upper Meeting Room
Birte Snilstveit and Jennifer Stevenson

This seminar was part of the 3ie-LIDC seminar series ‘What works in international development’ which explores key issues in impact evaluation of development interventions. It has been running on a monthly basis since January 2011, attracting a large and diverse audience of academics, policy-makers (predominantly from DFID) and development practitioners (international NGOs such as Save the Children, Oxfam, Sightsavers).

In each seminar one or two researchers present their results of impact evaluations, systematic review or methodological contribution followed by discussion and questions. The seminar is usually held on Wednesday evenings (with some exceptions), between 5.30pm and 7pm and is hosted by LIDC or one of its member colleges in central London (Bloomsbury).

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Effective management of agricultural and forest lands is critical for climate change mitigation, global food security and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. On the one hand forest degradation, deforestation and agricultural production contributes around a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the same time billions of people rely on agriculture and forests for their livelihoods. There is an urgent need to identify programmes which effectively reduce emissions while avoiding negative effects on food security and other human wellbeing outcomes.

This seminar marks the launch of an evidence gap map (EGM) of the evidence on effects of land-use change and forestry programmes on greenhouse gas emissions and human wellbeing outcomes. EGMs map existing evidence and identify gaps where little or no evidence from impact evaluations and systematic reviews is available. In doing so they can inform a strategic approach to building the evidence base in a particular sector. They can also help facilitate the use of the best existing evidence by allowing users to explore the findings and quality of existing systematic reviews, with links to user friendly summaries of all studies.

The overall aim of this EGM was to identify, map and describe existing empirical evidence on the effects of land-use change and forestry programmes and policies on GHG emissions and human wellbeing outcomes. The EGM used systematic methods and innovative data-mining and visualisation techniques to identify, display and categorise over 250 studies.  

The presentation will summarise the main finding of the study and outline implications for future programming and research.


Birte Snilstveit is a Senior Evaluation Specialist at the Synthesis and Reviews Office of 3ie. She manages systematic reviews commissioned by 3ie and other donors, provides quality assurance of systematic reviews and conducts in-house systematic review research and methods development. 

She is the lead author of a major systematic review on education and a co-author of systematic reviews and evidence gap maps on a range of topics, including WASH, social cohesion, productive safety nets and land use change and forestry. Birte has led the development of the methodology and web-platform for evidence gap maps at 3ie, manages the database of systematic review summaries and has published several papers on evidence synthesis methods. She is also an editor of the Campbell Collaboration International Development Coordinating Group.

Her research interests include education, agriculture and environmental policies, as well as synthesis methods and evidence use. Birte has a BSc in Politics with Sociology from Aston University, a MA in Political Economy of Development from University of Birmingham, UK and is currently pursuing a PhD in Global Public Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Jennifer Stevenson is a Research Associate on 3ie's Synthesis and Reviews Office. She coordinates the 3ie database of systematic review summaries and is involved in a number of in-house research projects. She is an author of 3ie’s systematic review on education and several evidence gap maps, including on productive safety nets, education and land use change and forestry. She is currently leading 3ie’s work on an evidence gap map on RMNCAH in collaboration with WHO.

She previously worked as a Junior Economist at the development economics consultancy, Maxwell Stamp and as a Policy Research Assistant at the charity, Action Against Hunger, UK. Jennifer holds a BSc in Economics and International Development from the University of Bath and is currently pursuing a MSc in Public Policy at University College London.