Poverty and land degradation in the mid-Andean valleys of Bolivia are major interrelated problems necessitating approaches that will both improve livelihoods and at the same time lead to improved land use. This paper outlines a participatory research and development process with a number of communities in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, which has led to increasing use of live barrier and cover crops. These are now being actively promoted by a number of NGOs as well as farmer groups. Research has involved close collaboration between scientists and farmers throughout the process to ensure that farmers’ criteria were used in the evaluation process. Successful development of sustainable land use practices at a field scale now need to be followed by consideration of factors that will facilitate upscaling to a landscape or watershed level. This will require close involvement of existing institutional structures taking into account the different interests of all user groups.