PROTECTED PRODUCTIVE LANDSCAPE (PPP*) bringing production closer to nature

Fundación ProYungas
Published: 05 May 2021
Last edited: 05 July 2021
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In many developing countries, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and its effects on natural ecosystems have led societies to discuss the need for curbing the growth of production activities. This creates a paradox given that these countries, in turn, require more production to rebuild their national economy. In this respect, ProYungas Foundation has developed the concept of "Protected Productive Landscape", which derives from the Category V of the IUCN ("Protected Landscape"). But the novel part of this idea is that it puts production activities as the central point in the generation of economic, technical and political resources necessary for the preservation of the natural environment where these production activities take place. This concept places the production sector as the focal point of action, shifting it from the "problem side" to the "solution side".  Currently, more than 300,000 hectares are being managed under this concept in critical ecosystems (Yungas and Chaco) in northern Argentina and Paraguay.


South America
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Fire management
Food security
Forest Management
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Renewable energies
Science and research
Standards/ certification
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Terrestrial spatial planning
Waste management
Wastewater treatment
Water provision and management
Watershed management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of access to long-term funding
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations


San Miguel de Tucumán - Provincia de Tucumán - Argentina | Departamento Ledesma, Provincia de Jujuy, Argentina, Ramón Lista - Provincia de Formosa - Argentina, Boquerón - Paraguay, Presidente Hayes - Paraguay


In many countries, mainly developing countries, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and its effects on natural ecosystems have led societies to discuss the need for curbing the growth of production activities. This creates a paradox given that these countries, in turn, require more production to rebuild their national economy. 
The COVID-19 pandemic combined with several natural disasters increase this difficulty, creating greater conflict between production activities and the preservation of nature. People from various sectors assure that this pandemic has its origin in human pressure on natural systems, and set out the need for a different, more proactive and more "healthy or sustainable" connection with nature. How can we improve, innovate and increase production activities -the economic engine of our countries-, and in turn make higher commitments to protect the natural capital necessary for our societies? That is the challenge!


The beneficiaries are the companies, cooperatives or producer associations that can associate their products with specific actions to protect nature.
Also, communities benefit from the regional environmental services.

How do the building blocks interact?

Las 5 líneas de acción interactúan naturalmente entre sí y van evolucionando en forma paralela e independiente, a excepción de la Planificación Territorial que es la base de todo el proceso. A medida que mejora la comunicación interna se van “empoderando” del proceso los actores del PPP, ello genera más compromiso y articulación entre sí. Esto va contribuyendo a mejorar la imagen interna de los procesos asociados a los distintos productos y ello va generando más exposición pública externa y, por lo tanto, más compromiso en ir mejorando las buenas prácticas en el marco de un proceso de mejora continua. En ese sentido, las 5 líneas de acción son vitales para llegar con éxito al concepto de PPP, que contribuya ciertamente a proteger los servicios ambientales que rodean al núcleo productivo y que ello sea valorado por la sociedad.


Up to this point, seven (7) companies have adopted this model (a sugar mill, three (3) citrus companies, a small-scale cattle producers association, a farming and agricultural cooperative and 5 cattle producers grouped together). And there are seven (7) NGOs which are partners of the program (ProYungas, TNC, WCS, Moisés Bertoni Foundation, Hábitat y Desarrollo, FCBC, AAPRESID). This encompasses three ecoregions (Yungas, Chaco Seco and Chaco Húmedo), almost 150,000 ha of wild land, some 37 species of large and medium-sized mammals, and more than 250 species of birds. Among the products produced in these areas, we can mention sugar, alcohol, paper, citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, lemons), beef and dairy products.


Fundación ProYungas

In 2000, with the arrival of soybean in Argentina, the deforestation rate went from tens of thousands of hectares to more than 200,000 ha/year. This expansion first occurred on lands already used for farming or livestock production. Later on, soybean crops spread to subtropical wild ecosystems of high environmental value in northern Argentina. In this context, the main sugar mill in Argentina, the Ledesma agribusiness complex located in the province of Jujuy, presented an environmental impact study (approved by the competent authority) to expand 1000 hectares of the sugar cane area. Even though this number is marginal compared to the total agricultural area of the country (500,000 ha of sugar cane in 37.5 million agricultural hectares), environmental organizations focused their attention on this company (which does not grow soybean) to highlight the problem of deforestation.
Due to our territorial involvement in northwestern Argentina, where the mill is located, we were invited by environmental organizations to technically “explain” to the company the reasons of the legal actions they were taking against them. From this new relationship between a large company and an environmental CSO, we came up with a proposal to make a land-use planning of the 150,000 ha (50,000 hectares in production + 100,000 wild hectares) owned by Ledesma. With this plan, the company moved forward with the expansion project, with the formal commitment to privately protect the 100,000 wild hectares (rain forests and wetlands). We later on called this experience of territorial planning at a property scale “Protected Productive Landscape”. Subsequently, environmental organizations suggested the convenience of transferring this initiative to the rest of the forested area of Jujuy (around 1.1 million ha); a proposal that was accepted by the provincial government assuming that these processes are necessary and imperative. 
The experience was then transferred to a national scale through a Law of Minimum Budgets for Environmental Protection of Native Forests (Law No 26,331), reaching all of Argentina's native forests over an area of about 30 million hectares. This mandatory land-use planning of native forest involved zoning the forests into categories. Voluntarily and partly motivated by the enactment of this law, a group of companies, mainly from the citrus and forestry sector, joined the PPP concept, involving an additional 300,000 hectares, in the provinces of Tucumán, Salta and Misiones.

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Alejandro Brown Fundación ProYungas