Jim O'Neill, Michelle Kovacevic, Ashwin Ravikumar, Regga Rantai

Organisation and country:

Centre for International Forestry Research, Indonesia


When infographic designer Jim O’Neill and writer Michelle Kovacevic met with CIFOR scientist Ashwin Ravikumar to talk about visualising the findings of a legal report on decentralisation in Peru, they discovered something interesting. 

Buried inside the findings of the dry legal document they found a much richer story about the very complexity that makes multilevel governance such a daunting topic for non-experts.
The team decided to link a stylized biophysical representation of the landscape with a Sankey-like line diagram of the related governance space. The graphic’s dense first glance rewards further investigation by the user, with the interactive functionality providing a simplifying lens through which to filter the variables. This highlights the intense complexity faced by actors when overlapping geographical land-use definitions combine with a multilevel web of governmental responsibilities, but allows genuine understanding of who-does-what.

By collaborating directly with CIFOR scientists working in situ, the team was able to combine data from a legal study on decentralization in Peru with interviews conducted for CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+. These data were used to visualise the role of various government agencies in land-use planning and governance for a single region of Peru.

In the month since it was published, the infographic has had over 1000 page views and has just been translated into Spanish. In addition to it's primary purpose, the infographic is also proving to be a powerful learning and teaching tool for scientists and policy negotiators wishing to illustrate the complex nature of landscapes and landscapes approaches.

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