Progress and challenges in sustainable land management initiatives

We are very pleased to announce the latest publication by Prof. dr Jean Poesen (Department of Geology, Soil Science and Geoinformation, UMCS) published in Science of The Total Environment:

Haregeweyn N., Tsunekawa A., Tsubo M., Fenta A.A., Ebabu K., Vanmaercke M., Borrelli P., Panagos P., Berihun M.L., Langendoen E.J., Nigussie Z., Setargie T.A., Maurice B.N., Minichil T., Elias A., Sun J., Poesen J., 2023. Progress and challenges in sustainable land management initiatives: A global review. Sci. Total Environ. 858, 160027.

Sustainable land management (SLM) is widely recognized as the key to reducing rates of land degradation, and preventing desertification. Many efforts have been made worldwide by various stakeholders to adopt and/or develop various SLM practices. Nevertheless, a comprehensive review on the spatial distribution, prospects, and challenges of SLM practices and research is lacking. To address this gap, we gathered information from a global SLM database provided by the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) and two bibliographic databases of academic research. Over 1900 SLM practices and 1181 academic research papers from 129 and 90 countries were compiled and analyzed. Relatively better SLM dissemination was observed in dry subhumid countries and countries with medium scores on the Human Development Index (HDI), whereas dissemination and research were both lower in humid countries with low HDI values. Cropland was the main land use type targeted in both dissemination and research; degradation caused by water erosion and mitigation aimed at water erosion were also the main focus areas. Other dominant land use types (e.g., grazing) and SLM purposes (e.g., economic benefits) have received relatively less research attention compared to their dissemination. Overall, over 75 % of the 60 countries experiencing high soil erosion rates (>10 t ha−1 yr−1) also have low HDI scores, as well as poor SLM dissemination and research implying the limited evidence-based SLM dissemination in these countries. The limitation of research evidence can be addressed in the short term through integrating existing scientific research and SLM databases by adopting the proposed Research Evidence for SLM framework. There is, however, a great need for additional detailed studies of country-specific SLM challenges and prospects to create appropriate evidence-based SLM dissemination strategies to achieve multiple SLM benefits.

Link to article

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    Date of addition
    16 November 2022