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ESBN Working Group on Land Degradation Is it feasible? Is it needed? Who should participate? What could be the outputs and deliverables? Who needs them?

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Presentation on theme: "ESBN Working Group on Land Degradation Is it feasible? Is it needed? Who should participate? What could be the outputs and deliverables? Who needs them?"— Presentation transcript:

1 ESBN Working Group on Land Degradation Is it feasible? Is it needed? Who should participate? What could be the outputs and deliverables? Who needs them? How to use them? Proposed by: Pandi Zdruli, Selim Kapur and Luca Montanarella

2 Land/soil degradation Land degradation Soil degradation Resource base: Natural processes Human-induced processes - Climate - Biosphere - Water - Soil - other - Inefficiency to maintain economic and ecological functions of land - Reduction capacity of the land to perform its functions and produce goods and services Physical, chemical, and/or biological degradation of the SOIL  loss of its ability to fulfil its functions (productivity and environmental) quantitative and qualitative changes (i.e. climate change, volcanoes, earthquakes) Could mitigate (+) BUT could accelerate (-) effects on natural processes

3 Land degradation Has received widespread debate at global level Many definitions, often with distinctive disciplinary- oriented meaning Few assessments, scattered data, some exclude important socio-economic considerations Lack of monitoring systems

4 Past assessments Used different definitions of land degradation Have been carried out with different methods - often considering only one aspect of land degradation (e.g. only soil degradation) Often based on the risks of degradation rather than the actual state of the land Use different scales and parameters to quantify the extent of degradation Results are often not comparable

5 ? What is the real magnitude/rate of land degradation (not only the risk of degradation)? Where are the biggest problems: what do we need to manage, how, by whom, for how long? How much does it cost to solve/prevent problems? What are the benefits of acting or not? How do we know if we are improving? Therefore we still don’t know…

6 Need for assessments that: Use harmonised definitions and methods Consider biophysical and socio-economic aspects Use several disciplines to address the complexity of land degradation Address different scales Allow for data comparability Make best use of information already available Need for a new generation of Land Degradation assessments

7 What for? Identify a baseline to: –Establish priorities based on cost-benefit analyses –Decide on best actions for conservation, rehabilitation/reclamation –Monitor success of new land management practices –Monitor success of actions from NAPs- Conventions

8 What for? Make use of funds in the best possible way Explore the potential for resolving common problems at regional level Stop the trend of assessing forever using different parameters…

9 Some concepts of land degradation in the past FAO 1979: Land degradation is a process which lowers the current and/or potential capability of soils to produce Houghton and Charman 1986: Aspects of physical, chemical, and/or biological deterioration including loss of organic matter, decline in soil fertility, decline in structural condition, erosion, adverse changes in salinity, acidity or alkalinity, and the effects of toxic chemicals, pollutants or excessive flooding UNEP 1992: Land degradation implies reduction of resource potential by one or a combination of processes acting on land

10 Some concepts of land degradation in the past l Some focused in single compartments (e.g. only soils) l Some considered a limited number of processes l Do not help to understand the complexity of land degradation, since they consider only biophysical aspects

11 LADA definition, 2005 Land degradation is the reduction in the capacity of the land to perform ecosystem functions and services (including those of agro- ecosystems and urban systems) that support society and development Definition adopted by the Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) project:

12 Evolving concepts of land degradation (II) land 1992 land- ecosystem functions and services 2005 soils 1979

13 Land degradation (I) Includes damage/change to one or more components: –Soil –Water bodies (surface, groundwater) –Vegetation cover –Fauna (micro/macrolevel)

14 Land degradation (II) –Physical: crusting, compaction, erosion, waterlogging, depletion of underground water, etc. –Chemical: acidification, leaching, salinisation, changes in cation exchange capacity, fertility depletion, pollution, etc. –Biological: reduction in total biomass carbon sequestration, changes in biodiversity (micro/macro), eutrophication… Through different processes (isolated or combined):

15 Land degradation (III) These processes are driven by different factors: Inappropriate land use/land management Natural disasters Socio-economic: land tenure, market, population growth, institutional support, income, education, human health… Political:incentives, political stability or instability…

16 Aspects to consider Land degradation: –is complex, includes physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic factors, therefore it needs a multidisciplinary approach –impacts on economic growth –concerns different stakeholders - from the farmer to the national/regional authorities –Recovering degraded land may be expensive/not feasible - early action is desirable –Early warning systems are necessary to avoid further losses

17 Is it feasible? Yes: ESBN has plenty of internal human resources Is it needed for Europe? Yes International Working Group on LD and Desertification of IUSS started as a Task Force in 1996 and converted to WG in World Congress of Soil Science in Montpellier in 1998 however The focus remain in developing countries But Land Degradation is a problem affecting both poor and rich countries including Europe (i.e. UNCCD Annex 4 European countries ) Who should participate? Scientists of different backgrounds What could be the outputs deliverables? Atlas of Land Degradation for Europe (????) But first we MUST agree on the methodology; Who needs them? A wide range of stakeholders from policy/decision makers (in Malta many of them do not consider LD a problem) down to the farming community How to use and disseminate them? All available forms of communication including media, conferences, etc ESBN Working Group on Land Degradation

18 European Soil Geographical Database 1:1M Land Degradation Atlas of Europe

19 Main topics of the 5 th ICLD  Multidisciplinary assessment of land degradation and desertification at local, national, regional and global scales;  Interaction between natural ecosystem components (land, water, biodiversity) and socio- economic indicators and their overall impact on land degradation;  Impacts of human mismanagement on natural resources and examples of best management practices in reducing land degradation effects;  Promotion of income-generating activities that alleviate poverty through enhancement of sustainable crop production systems and valorisation of indigenous knowledge in sustainable ecosystem management;  Participatory management of natural resources as a mean to sustain both productivity and environmental sustainability;  Establishing of the role and responsibilities of various stakeholders in reducing the negative effects of land degradation and enhancing soil conservation measures;  State and development of policy options, management strategies, and guidelines for sustainable natural resources use and management;  Development of economically sustainable measures that match with environmental quality.

20 Comments/suggestions are most welcome Send them to:


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