Skip to navigation Skip to content

Five lessons learned for increasing the agency of land and water resource managers to adaptively manage the delivery of environmental, social, and financial outcomes.


To work with a range of regional to national level stakeholder involved in the management of land and water resources in Scotland to understand what is needed to aid landscape scale outcome-based approaches.  

Lessons learned

1. There is a need for capacity to enable collective landscape scale management within and across properties (Macleod and Hewitt 2017 report). In our case study, stakeholder priorities were: to be able to spatially target management interventions, to be able to consider multiple policy areas / environmental outcomes, the information needs to be provided in a digestible format, and needs to be linked to financial incentives / instruments and regulations (Macleod and Hewitt 2017 workshop report).

2. Data and digital technologies can enable aiding land and water resource manager decision making as long if they meet 12 stakeholder principles we identified, including being practical and credible (Hewitt and Macleod 2017 paper).

3. Our analysis of five case studies highlighted the importance of social processes for landscape scale management within and across properties (Macleod et al. 2020 SEFARI case study).

4. Socio-economic data is key for monitoring and evaluation of environmental, social, and financial outcomes across environmental policies to enable learning for adaptive management (Waylen et al. 2019 paper)  

5. Digital social innovations in environmental monitoring are needed to meet stakeholder needs collective landscape scale management within and across properties, these include improved land cover / land use / habitat datasets (that are accurate at the field to farm scale) and integration with data on environmental state for example biological recording data (for example from NBN Gateway). Our report provides an overview of innovations in environmental monitoring (Macleod et al. 2020).

Contact details and funding

For more information about this ongoing research contact Kit Macleod ( This project is funded by the Scottish Government RESAS Strategic Research Programme 2016-2022.

Earlier outputs from this research and key points


D1 Macleod (2016) How can logic modelling improve the planning, monitoring and evaluation of policy measures and wider interventions for multiple benefits?

Provided an overview of uses and potential benefits of logic modelling, including outcome/results based approach.

D2 Macleod and Hewitt (2017a) Summary of research on developing a more integrated approach to land and water management using incentives and regulations for the delivery of multiple benefits: exploring national and regional level stakeholder views and needs.

Stakeholder views on integrated approach to land use and catchment management using incentives and regulations for multiple benefits.
Stakeholder awareness and understanding of logic modelling and outcome-based approaches, and requirements for an approach.
Initial development of a web application to support an outcome-based approach.

D3 Macleod and Hewitt (2017b) Workshop summary: developing an outcome-based approach for understanding the effectiveness of interventions in catchments for multiple benefits.

Understanding perspectives on people’s needs.
Developing principles to guide development and use of application.
Demonstration and discussion of software options and requirements.

D4 Hewitt and Macleod (2017) What do users really need? Participatory development of decision support tools for environmental management based on outcomes.

What are stakeholders’ views on key non-functional requirements i.e. properties of environmental decision support systems (EDSS).
Review of software options for producing EDSS.

D5 Macleod and Hewitt (2018). Developing an outcome-based web application: principles and requirements specification. 

Key points from phase two of our research, setting out the principles supporting our approach, and how we refined our software application requirements. 

D6 Macleod and Hewitt (2018). Technical report: progress with developing an outcome-based web application.

We present: a summary of previous development activities; an overview of developing mobile web and native mobile applications, including general points to be aware of when developing mobile web applications; and examples of development options related to how we implement draft user stories in our web application.

D7 Macleod and Hewitt (2018). Technical report: overview of web mapping technologies and vector tile data for an outcome-based web application.

Overview of six main web mapping libraries structured by: links to resources; background and status; what is needed to add a map on a webpage; how to access draw functionality e.g. select where to place a riparian buffer strip; does it support vector tiles; how to add GeoJSON data; can it be used off-line; and what additional functionality is available. Feedback from stakeholders is also included.


Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.


Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/projects/five-lessons-learned-increasing-agency-land-and-water-resource-managers-adaptively on 29/11/23 08:52:15 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.