Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources

Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources

Evaluation Systems, Strategies and Tools You do not have access to this content

English
Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/6c9b9ff6-en.pdf
  • PDF
  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/agriculture-rural-development-and-forestry/unlocking-the-sustainable-potential-of-land-resources_6c9b9ff6-en
  • READ
Author(s):
UNEP
27 June 2016
Pages:
90
ISBN:
9789210600989 (PDF)
http://dx.doi.org/10.18356/6c9b9ff6-en

Hide / Show Abstract

Land resources are one of nature’s most precious gifts. They feed us and help our societies and economies to thrive. Some 2.5 billion agricultural smallholders worldwide manage around 500 million small farms, providing more than 80 per cent of food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. These resources are being degraded at an alarming pace. An estimated 33 per cent of soil is moderately to highly-degraded due to erosion, nutrient depletion, acidification, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution. Each year we lose 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil and 15 billion trees, costing the economy around $40 billion. This report focuses on land potential evaluation systems as a critical foundation for land use planning and management. More specifically, land potential evaluation systems are needed to sustain and increase the provision of ecosystem services in the context of climate change, persistent land degradation and increasing global population and per-capita consumption levels.

loader image

Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Table of Contents

  • Mark Click to Access
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the international resource panel
  • Preface

    The International Resource Panel’s first report on Land and Soil predicted that during the 45 years starting in 2005 there will be a net expansion of cropland of between 120 and 500 Mha. Compensating for land degradation and replacement of cropland with urban, industrial (including energy) and transportation infrastructure will result in a gross expansion of cropland of between 320 and 850 Mha under ‘business as usual’ conditions. This projected new cropland area is equal to over 50% of the current cropland area.

  • Foreword

    Land resources are one of nature’s most precious gifts. They feed us and help our societies and economies to thrive. Some 2.5 billion agricultural smallholders worldwide manage around 500 million small farms, providing more than 80 per cent of food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Glossary
  • Abstract

    Better matching of land use with its sustainable potential is a “no-regrets” strategy for sustainably increasing agricultural production on existing land, targeting restoration efforts to where they are likely to be most successful, and guiding biodiversity conservation initiatives. Land potential is defined as the inherent, long-term potential of the land to sustainably generate ecosystem services.

  • Executive summary

    This report provides an introduction to land evaluation systems, strategies and tools necessary for “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The text focuses strongly on how to better match land use with its sustainable potential, in order to reduce the amount of land required to meet human needs, minimize land degradation, and cost-effectively restore already degraded lands. The report provides information that private landowners can use to increase long-term productivity and profitability, while at the same time addressing global objectives defined through land-related Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly 15.3 (land degradation neutrality).

  • Objectives, scope and audience
  • Introduction

    Land potential is defined as the inherent, longterm potential of the land to sustainably generate ecosystem services. Management determines whether the inherent potential is sustainably realized. Sustainability depends on (1) potential degradation resistance, and (2) potential resilience, which is the capacity to recover from degradation. Land with similar potential should therefore respond similarly to management.

  • Existing land potential evaluation systems: review and applications

    This section provides an overview of two of the more widely applied land potential evaluation systems (1.2 and 1.3). This is followed by a brief overview of applications of land evaluations. A set of case studies illustrating the global diversity of applications is provided in the Appendix. The summary and conclusions consider the utility of existing systems and identify challenges to their application. This section is limited, in part, by the dwindling number of individuals engaged in land potential evaluation, and qualified to provide case studies. A somewhat more extensive and even more critical review of the current status of land evaluation globally is provided in the International Institute for Environment and Development report (Dent and Dalal-Clayton 2014).

  • Principles for improving existing land potential evaluation systems and developing the next generation

    Land potential evaluation requires an understanding of numerous biophysical processes interacting at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Ideally, it also requires foresight to predict the climate, human needs, land management systems, and technologies over the next 10, 50, 100 years and beyond. While this is clearly impossible, we can increase our ability to accurately predict the response of the land to different types of disturbance, because the response of the land depends on a fundamental set of biophysical processes.

  • Tools, resources and a strategy for unleashing the sustainable potential of land resources

    The amount of information, and the number and power of the tools available to apply this information to land evaluation is increasing dramatically every year. This section provides a brief overview of the history and current status of these tools, along with some links to specific tools that were available at the time this document was published.

  • Policy options for applying land potential evaluation to land use planning and management

    Land potential can be applied to partially decouple economic growth from (1) land degradation, (2) conversion of natural ecosystems to agriculture, and (3) conversion of natural and agricultural systems to biologically non-productive uses including urban, infrastructure, and many forms of energy production. It can be used to decouple economic growth from land degradation by limiting land management systems to those that are sustainable for each type of land. Conversion of natural systems to agriculture can be reduced using a knowledge of land potential to maintain and increase production on existing agricultural lands in three ways: (1) limitation of productivity declines caused by degradation, and (2) close yield gaps by better matching of production systems with land potential, and (3) targeting inputs to where they will result in the greatest return on investment and least harm to other ecosystem services.

  • References
  • Country and regional case studies

    The following case studies illustrate the range of variability in the global application of land potential evaluations and related land use and land cover classifications. Readers are encouraged to review Dent and Dalal-Clayton (2014) for additional critical reviews of individual countries, and the landpotential.org website, where new case studies and examples of current best practices will be continuously updated.

  • Land resource surveys in current and former british overseas territories
  • Add to Marked List