Please find herewith the latest WOCAT Newsletter. If you would like to unsubscribe to the WOCAT newsletter, please write an email to the WOCAT secretariat.

Please note, that the text below shows only short summaries of the different articles. For the complete newsletter please refer to the pdf attached.

Topics of WOCATEER No. 19

  • New WOCAT website and address management
  • 14th Annual WOCAT Workshop & Steering Meeting
  • DESIRE
  • Mapping in the LADA project
  • WOCAT Management Team meeting and LADA/WOCAT Seminar, Rome, February 2010
  • Next WWSM
  • Other News and up-coming events

TF Digital Products

The address database is the first pillar of the ongoing efforts in developing new on-line databases and tools. The Approaches questionnaire (QA) inter-face is now also ready! Login is also currently required, also for just viewing existing data (use “Approach Search”in the menu).

Development of the QT interface will start a.s.a.p.

The beta version of the QM Online data management system has been com-pleted and is now being further tested by the 16 DESIRE partners for input of their Study Site mapping data (see be-low and see figure on the right). The development of a map viewer is planned for September which will enable the display of the data in various map output formats. An off-line version of the system is also under development so that users without Internet connection can also view and edit data. Newly added or edited data can than later be submitted to the on-line database when and where an Internet connection is available.

LADA-Project

By Godert van Lynden, Riccardo Biancalani

WOCAT is playing an important role in the LADA programme which is coordinated by FAO. LADA consists of three components: a global assessment of land degradation and improvement, a national assessment and a local level assessment. At the national level the QM method is being used in the six LADA pilot countries. The method has been significantly revised and improved in the past few years in a strong collaboration between WOCAT, LADA and DESIRE. First results are now being produced, see below.

At the local level, QT and QA are playing an important role in documenting field experiences in SLM. WOCAT also contributed to the development of the LADA manual for local assessment of land degradation. The local assessment methodology is now being implemented in the six LADA countries; results are expected by the end of the year.

DESIRE-Project

By Godert van Lynden, Gudrun Schwilch

The DESIRE Integrated Project, addressing land degradation and desertification problems in 16 study sites around the world, is midway through the project duration of five years. The main aim of the project is to test methods to identify and evaluate suitable remedial and conservation measures, and share the findings through a Harmonised Information System.

Since the previous WOCAT Newsletter, a Working Block (WB) leaders' meeting was held in Wageningen at ISRIC in April 09. An EU panel review was held in Brussels early July and saw an overall positive evaluation of the project (“good to excellent project”).

For WB 1, coordinated by ISRIC, most data have been provided by the Study Sites and data for the (WOCAT) map are currently being received. Results are due this autumn.

WB 3 of the DESIRE project, under coordination of CDE, has been very active in the last two years in developing a new comprehensive methodology, in which existing WOCAT tools have been integrated with a stakeholder learning approach and a decision support system. It guides users through a process, starting from collective learning on desertification problems and respective SLM solutions (Part I), to the description and evaluation of identified local SLM (Part II), and finally to jointly selecting potential SLM for implementation with the help of a decision support tool (Part III). The methodology has been trained to the 16 DESIRE study sites, which thereafter conducted all 3 steps and which are now implementing and monitoring the selected measures. They also have documented 42 technologies and 20 approaches, which are currently under review.

The methodology description as well as the guidelines and decision support software are available on http://www.wocat.org/desire.asp . Further testing and application of the methodology around the world is intended in order to improve the methodology.

TerrAfrica

TerrAfrica , a partnership of national and international institutions and organizations for mainstreaming and financing effective SLM strategies in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), mandated the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) secretariat to produce detailed and illustrated guidelines on promising sustainable land management (SLM) practices (technologies and approaches) for SSA. The goal of the guidelines is to identify, analyze and disseminate promising SLM practices based on solid scientific background, experiences and representative case studies, in particular those practices with short paybacks and profitability and/or other factors likely to drive adoption. The report is intended as a practical guide for investment and operation design, rather than a comprehensive academic or scientific overview. The final product will be a published book (preliminary title: Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa - Promoting Knowledge for Action) in an attractive illustrated format. In the first part some general conclusions and recommendation based on the experiences so far will be discussed. In a second part 12 groups of sustainable land management (SLM-groups), which are seen as highly suitable for Sub-Saharan Africa, will be presented. For each of the groups, 2-3 cases (examples of technologies) will be used to illustrate the group. This will be done in standardized 2-page summaries. The book is intended as a starting point to further indentify promising SLM options and making them available for projects and decision makers in SSA.

UNCCD

A joint visit by Hanspeter Liniger (WOCAT), Coen Ritsema and Rudi Hessel (DESIRE) and Godert van Lynden (WOCAT and DESIRE) was paid to the UNCCD secretariat in Bonn , March 2009. Positive and open discussions were held about what these projects - and LADA - could mean for UNCCD, and v.v.

Also related to UNCCD, WOCAT is represented in some of the working groups preparing a “white paper” for the UNCCD­CST First Scientific Conference and Consultation entitled "Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends", which will take place from 22-24 September 2009 at the UNCCD Conference of Parties' 9th Session (COP-9) in Buenos Aires , Argentina .

At the request of the UNCCD Secretariat, a brochure on ‘Benefits of Sustainable Land Management' has been compiled by WOCAT / CDE, with funding from SDC. It has been prepared on the occasion of the meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in May 2009 in New York.

The document highlights local, regional and global benefits of sustainable land management and illustrates the importance of ecosystem services provided by sustainable land management.

The brochure is available in the WOCAT knowledge base

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Many greetings

WOCAT secretariat