Co-production of sustainable land systems
Mapping exercise in Jhalokhati, Bangladesh. Photo by Sarah Castine / Worldfish on Flickr

Co-production of Sustainable Land Systems

Short Description

Land systems lie at the intersection of diverse and sometimes contradictory sustainability claims. Thus, within the land policy and land science community alike, there is growing recognition that the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may translate into competing claims on scarce land resources. Therefore, science-policy-society interfaces are needed to co-design and co-produce innovative approaches towards sustainable land systems, to navigate trade-offs among competing development claims, and, ultimately, to achieve the SDGs.

Goals and Objectives

GLP understands as co-design the joint formulation of research questions, objectives and methods involving science and society. Co-production of knowledge means the generation of “new knowledge involving both academics and non-academics in a strongly interactive way, so that the research process requires forms of knowledge and expertise that cannot be supplied by the researchers alone” (Robinson and Tansey 2006). We will use thereafter in the text “co-production” meaning both co-design as well as co-production.

The main goal of the WG is to foster the adoption and multiplication of co-production of social-ecological knowledge within the GLP community, to enhance its relevance for the solving of pressing land sustainability concerns. This main goal will be addressed through the following specific objectives:

  1. Establishing a community of practice among GLP scientists from diverse disciplines by facilitating exchange of experience in the co-production of sustainable land systems. GLP researchers will share their experiences of their daily practice (learning pathways) with other researchers working with co-production approaches. This objective will mainly be pursued by liaising among GLP researchers, availing information in the form of E-news, newsletters, and through learning events.
  2. Methodological guidance for transdisciplinary approaches in land system science. The WG will organise webinars aiming to enhance the capacity of researchers in transdisciplinary methods. It will also produce syntheses helping to better understand processes of co-production of knowledge in land system science. Such syntheses will include analyses of specific participatory planning methods, studies on the adoption and implementation process of co-production approaches, reviews, special journal issues, as well as a white paper on current state and future needs for co-production of knowledge.
  3. Closing the gap between land science and the knowledge needs of the development and land policy communities, by acting as a brokering and liaison platform between these communities. Beyond case-by-case networking services, the working group will assess the usefulness of setting up or contributing to an interactive platform that bring together various stakeholders concerned with sustainable land systems for common agenda setting and solution finding.

GLP Themes: Land management systems

GLP Methods: Co-production and transdisciplinarity


How to navigate between singularity of case studies and production of actionable knowledge on complex human-environment systems? The GLP Working Group on Co-production of Sustainable Land Systems is addressing this question through an analysis of co-production practices in the field of land system science and a series of webinars. Learn more about the second webinar, which illustrated practical examples about adaptive landscape approaches, and access additional resources from the presenters.   Read full post

Related Information


January 23, 2020

Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. The authors of a new paper in Nature Sustainability, including GLP Fellow Harini Nagendra and Executive Officer Ariane de Bremond, and several leaders and coordinators of Future Earth's global research projects (GRPs), propose a set of four general principles that underlie high quality knowledge co-production for sustainability research. Using these principles, they offer practical guidance on how to engage in meaningful co-productive practices, and how to evaluate their quality and success.

Read more


April 30, 2019

The Co-production of Sustainable Land Systems Working Group produced a series of five webinar aimed at enhancing the capacity of researchers in transdisciplinary methods. It can now be viewed in its entirety, including video recordings, downloadable presentations, and additonal resources.

Read more


April 8, 2019

The GLP working group on co-production held its fifth webinar, on ethical and contextual considerations in knowledge co-production and lessons learned from the webinar series, in March. View a recording of the full webinar, download copies of the presentations, and more.

Read more

Working Group Coordinators


Working Group Members