The Sustainable Development Goals have emphasized that SLM is at the
core of global environmental and development issues. SLM simultaneously addresses
food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk
reduction, biodiversity, and water conflict resolution. However the value and
importance of scaling-up SLM is not yet sufficiently acknowledged by
policymakers or the broad public, thus hindering the allocation of adequate resources
to combating land degradation.
Although information and data on land degradation and SLM are increasing
worldwide, there is a lack of evidence and awareness on the specific impacts of
SLM onsite and offsite. Evidence-based examples highlighted in each case study
help to target these gaps by raising awareness and increasing knowledge about various
interlinked impacts in areas onsite, where SLM is directly implemented (upstream),
and offsite areas (downstream).
WOCAT (The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies)
investigates both unsustainable and sustainable land management (SLM) in Columbia,
Indian Himalayas, Haiti and Iceland; identifying, assessing, and illustrating the
onsite and offsite impacts of different SLM practices. Onsite investigations focus
on the effects on land degradation, water availability and quality, resilience
of land and people and biodiversity. Offsite impacts (often neglected and
underestimated) focus on downstream water availability and quality (for domestic
use, irrigation and hydropower), deposition of particles from windstorms, as
well as disaster risk reduction related to floods, droughts and sand and dust
Approaches and technologies giving both onsite and offsite benefits are emphasized in the findings and further documented in detail (WOCAT SLM database). The case studies prompt policy action and public support for investments that improve livelihoods, ecosystem services and natural resource management. Recommendations are focused on SLM-based approaches that enhance collaboration at the local, national and international level.
The project was implemented by WOCAT jointly with various partner organizations, and financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Onsite: locations where land management practices are applied – implementation site of SLM
Offsite: areas where land management practices (applied elsewhere) have an impact on the surrounding land and people, including areas downstream (related to water) or downwind (related to wind transport of sand, dust and moisture)
Benefits of action: economic well-being, climate resilience, environmental impacts (cleaner air and water, enhanced preservation of land and natural resources), community building, equity
Costs of inaction: yield losses, land and resource degradation, increased disaster risk and vulnerability to climate change, poverty
These videos capture current challenges, potential solutions and existing knowledge on SLM practices in each case study from the land user’s perspective.
Video presented during the 2020 Desertification and Drought Day illustrates that SLM goes beyond producing food feed and fibre: it also protects land and people against disasters, flood and drying up of springs. It emphasizes evidence-based decision making including knowledge about impacts of land management, both on- and offsite. It highlights the importance of partnership and capacity building and investing into the young people, the next generation. Striking images of the landscapes and statements of land users and people concerned.
There is striking evidence about the on- and offsite impacts of land management in Colombia, Haiti, the Indian Himayalas and Iceland. The fluctuation of rivers, diminishing crop production, drying up of springs, and the struggle for protection against disastrous storms, floods, as well as sand and dust storms are the paramount issues affecting people near (onsite) and far (offsite). However, local land users have identified sustainable land use practices that mitigate land degradation, preserve natural resources and ecosystem services.
In the large watershed of the Cusiana River in Colombia, land management from the Paramo in the Andes to the cloud forests and the savannah lowlands affects the behaviour of the river - changing their flows and affecting people and the ecosystem downstream. Introduction to the complex challenge to relate changes observed in the lowlands to change of the land management upstream. Impressive landscape images.
Haiti is very vulnerable to climate extremes (hurricanes, rain storms) and is frequently hit by disasters, floods, droughts and food insecurity. The land use is not resilient and rural people face land degradation and loss of productivity. Good land management is not only productive also protective. It protects people downstream from devastating floods and soon after that droughts and drying up of the springs - the essential water supply. Agroforestry systems and vetiver terraces and their benefits are illustrated. Impressive landscape images and statements by land users and young extension workers showing on- and offsite benefits of SLM.
In the Himalayas of North India, thousands of springs are drying up - the essential water supply for the rural communities. Is this related to climate change and or land use change? Extensive spread of degraded pine forests and increased fires hinder the recharge of the groundwater and the springs. Broadleaved forests (oak) and productive agricultural practices secure spring flows and thus provide continued offsite benefits to mountain communities. Impressive landscape images and statements by initiative land users.
Iceland is affected by devastating sand and dust storms, which have impacts on the land (onsite) and far away (offsite) e.g. in a fishing town on the Atlantic coast. The role of Sustainable Land Management and its impact close to the town as well as far away in the volcanic uplands is illustrated, as well as the efforts made by the soil conservation service and individual land users. Impressive landscape images and statements by initiative land users.
The Watershed Tool helps to categorize and map different land use/land management types, calculate their runoff rates, and determine their contribution to the total watershed runoff from daily rainfall events.
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2016 - 2020
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