Improved soil management for land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa

 

Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Panelists at the session on sustainable soil management in Africa at the European Development Days 2017. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/ Susan Onyango

ICRAF presents the role of evidence and improved soil management for land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa at the European Development Days

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Degraded land in Marsabit, Kenya. Poor land management which leads to degradation. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/ Ake Mamo

Approximately 70% of Africa’s population depends on its agriculture-based economy for their livelihoods, underscoring the importance of soil to the sector. Fertile soils across the continent are under threat, however, due in large part to climate change and poor land management which leads to the depletion of nutrients and soil organic matter and increased soil erosion.

During the recent European Development Days held on 7-8 June 2017 in Brussels, Belgium, the Joint Research Commission of the European Commission led a session on sustainable soil management in Africa. Panelists drew from different organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and University of Leuven. Their discussion focused on solutions to large-scale adoption, both at policy and practical levels, of key land restoration options including integrated soil fertility management alongside practices such as intercropping and agroforestry. Scientists from ICRAF presented compelling evidence on how soil restoration can contribute to improved food security and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Pakistan: combat desertification up-scaled

 

Photo credit: Pakistanpoint

 

Efforts to combat desertification up-scaled

 

Islamabad

The climate change ministry has up-scaled its efforts to combat desertification in the country through sustainable land management.

This was stated by the ministry’s officials during a meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP Phase-II) here on Friday under the ministry’s leadership in partnership with UNDP, GEF and all four provinces.

The participants discussed the progress of the programme in four provinces and its achievements.

They approved the stepping up of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) up-scaling activities, which envisage SLM integrated provincial policies, technical training, effective land use planning with Geographic Information System (GIS) and implementation of climate-resilient SLM activities in partnership with communities across landscapes in the country.

Read the full article: The News

See also: https://www.pakistantribe.com/49069/pakistan-upscales-efforts-combat-desertification-sustainable-land-management

and: http://www.pakistanpoint.com/en/pakistan/news/efforts-afoot-to-combat-desertification-throu-88077.html

 

RECLAIMING DEGRADED LAND

 

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Women participants with their harvest from crops grown on reclaimed land Photo: S Abdoussalam, ICRISAT

WOMEN FARMERS DOUBLE INCOMES AND ENHANCE HOUSEHOLD NUTRITION BY RECLAIMING DEGRADED LAND

In eastern Niger, 241 hectares of degraded land was converted into productive farms for 10,770 women through the Bio-reclamation of Degraded Lands (BDL) system. This has resulted in a 50% increase in agri-income over non-BDL participants. These impacts are from a mid-term evaluation study conducted at the end of three years of a five-year project.

The results were shared with the local communities in 172 villages in the district of Mayahi (Maradi region) and Kantche (Zinder region) in a series of meetings over the past few months.

The initial results of the impact evaluation conducted by the ICRISAT socio-economics team show that the BDL system had a positive effect on women by giving them access to land and increasing their income. The 0.02 hectare piece of land allocated to each woman in the BDL plot of 1 ha resulted in an average increase in the household income of women participants by 14,345 FCFA (US$26) which is approximately a 50% increase over non-BDL participants. This does not include income from the forestry component, which if added raised the average household income to US$100.

The BDL system has an agroforestry component that incorporates high-value trees and vegetables in a holistic system, with the aim of reversing damage to soils caused by overgrazing and intensive farming. It is a climate-smart technology that helps regenerate the landscape by improving soil fertility through carbon sequestration via tree roots and reducing soil erosion.

The technology developed by ICRISAT had two main components – water harvesting techniques and high-value nutritious trees and annual crops.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

 

Protecting the environment, empowering people(IFAD)

 

 

https://www.ifad.org/documents/10180/e036916a-9d15-463f-8952-56d1566d7ac8

The Drylands Advantage

Protecting the environment, empowering people 

“Recognition of the true value of ecosystem services, and of the opportunities they offer, will enable better planning and realization of the full economic potential of dryland ecosystems, rebutting the common perception that drylands are ‘economic wastelands’” (IUCN, 2009).

Table of Contents

Acronyms 4

Introduction 5

China: Boosting biodiversity for benefits to people and the environment 9

Jordan: Sustainable land management 15

Nicaragua: Nutrition security in the Dry Corridor in the face of El Niño 21

Senegal: What a little freshwater can do 27

Swaziland: Grass-roots governance beats overgrazing and gully erosion 32

Conclusions and next steps 37

References and resources consulted 39

How land restoration has transformed landscapes and livelihoods

 

Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Aba Hawi next to a dam in Tigray

Fresh water, the reward of land restoration, flows in Ethiopia’s dry zone

Success stories of how land restoration has transformed landscapes and livelihoods in four watersheds of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

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Crop ready for harvest under a Faidherbia albida tree – http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/IMG_3161-300×200.jpeg

Fresh water — its availability or lack thereof— is a powerful signal of the health of an ecosystem.

On a whirlwind tour of four watersheds in Tigray province, located on the northernmost tip of Ethiopia, we found large and small dams full of clean water, productive boreholes and even waterfalls. People were busy harvesting heavy crops of teff and wheat, and the cows and goats around the trees looked healthy and well fed.

Land restoration has brought back water and vibrant colour to a previously bleak and desolate landscape just south of the Sahara.

The visit was arranged as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) inaugural conference, held from 11-12 October 2016 in Addis Ababa. After discussing plans for restoring 100 million hectares of the continent’s degraded landscapes, 50 international participants were taken to Tigray see what land restoration can do for landscapes and people.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Desertification risk assessment tool

 

Photo credit: DESIRE

http://www.desire-his.eu/images/stories/rsgallery/display/D2.2.3%20fig%202a.jpg.jpg

Stage 4 in the process of linking desertification and land degradation indicators to land use practices

Effective land desertification protection requires both appropriate land management practices and macro policy approaches that promote sustainability of ecosystem services. It is preferable for actions to focus on protection or prevention rather than on rehabilitation of desertified areas since such areas are usually at high stage of land degradation and the expected profitability of applying measures is low.

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Photo credit: DESIRE – http://www.desire-his.eu/images/stories/rsgallery/original/D2.2.3%20fig%206.jpg

The priority for land users is to apply appropriate land management practices to protect the productivity of sensitive areas to desertification and thus prevent active degradation processes.

A number of indicators have been shown to be important in affecting land degradation processes or causes. Many of the indicators are for properties that cannot easily altered at farm level (such as Soil depth, Slope gradient and Rainfall seasonality). However, indicators related to land management (such as No tillage, Storage of water runoff, and Grazing control) can be changed by the farmer.

A Desertification Risk Assessment Tool has been designed to enable users to

  • analyse a wide range of alternatives for land management practices for reducing land desertification risk;
  • evaluate and select the most important indicators through which desertification risk may be assessed in a variety of locales worldwide;
  • develop a consensus among various groups (such as politicians, managers and experts) when assessing desertification risks.

Read the full article: DESIRE

Helping smallholders restore degraded forests

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Ochieng’ Ogodo

African initiative calls for focus on land restoration

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Ochieng’ Ogodo

Speed read

  • A meeting has called for a need to create evidence to restore Africa’s forests
  • Collaborations among universities could help generate more evidence
  • Governments should be committed to helping smallholders restore degraded forests

Generating sufficient scientific knowledge to restore degraded land is critical in Africa because the continent largely depends on land and other natural resources for socioeconomic development, experts say.

Most populations, it was noted at the 1st African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR100) Regional Conference this month (11-12 October) in Ethiopia, depend on land for livelihoods, but there has been massive degradation and this calls for, among others, adequate knowledge for restoration, particularly by small-scale farmers.

“Rivers are drying, Lake Chad is gone, Lake Turkana in Kenya is receding and [thus] people have to take restoration very seriously.”

Alice Akinyi Kaudia, Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

“This requires inter-universities collaborations because not all African universities are well endowed with enough resources to generate needed knowledge and tools,” says Alice Akinyi Kaudia, environmentsecretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. “It will [also] be useful to develop centres of excellence within them to address this urgently.”

The AFR100 conference was organised by the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development, Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Making land fertile again

 

Photo credit: FAO

FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme is expanding a successful land restoration model across the Sahel

Land restoration in northern Niger is making degraded areas productive again, providing economic opportunities in a region where migration has become a tradition. Now, under FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme, these efforts are being expanded to six African countries.

When Moumouni Nuhu returned to his village after thirty years, everything was gone, the trees, the animals, everything. In his youth they would chase hares, antelopes, guinea fowl – a bit too much, maybe.

“The harmattan blows with a terrible force now. It takes all nutritious elements out of the soil,” says this 65-year old retired civil servant in Bajirga, his community on the outskirts of Tera, a dusty town in north-western Niger, known for its cattle market that attracts traders from as far as Nigeria.

Who can be surprised that youth are leaving, Moumouni asks, dressed in a white robe and sitting in the shade of a tree. Pointing out the barren field around him where women are digging under a scourging sun, he says: “We have to make degraded land fertile again.”

Travel and see

If you have a reason to stay home, you don’t leave, says Hassan Gado (51), who has just returned after a long life of work abroad. He first left in 1984, sold cigarettes in Lagos, worked in the port of Cotonou and then in a shoe-shop in Lomé.

In 2010, someone offered him a boat trip to Spain, but Hassan was told that the captain of the ship did not know about it. He got scared he would be thrown overboard when discovered and decided not to go.

Being a migrant worker is hard, Hassan says. You don’t have any family. Sometimes you don’t even have a place to sleep. But there are good times too. “I went out to see the world,” says Hassan. “Bob Marley said: ‘Travel and see’. If you always stay where you are, you don’t learn anything.”

Not trees only

A truck has arrived today from the national forest seed center in Niger’s capital Niamey, loaded with seeds for communities around Tera that have been involved in land restoration activities since 2013.

Maman Adda, Director of the center, explains that communities are at the heart of restoration efforts. Seeds were selected based on extensive village consultations. Capacity development of village technician is continuous. Seed collection took place with help of the seed center and, next, seeds are planted in village nurseries. Since 2013, five nurseries were established around Tera, now producing 100 000 seedlings per year.

Today’s shipment from Niamey contains seeds of shrubs and grasses. “Restoration is not only about planting trees”, Maman Adda says. As fast-growing species, shrubs and grasses produce within one year, while the output is fodder grass, not only essential to feed the animals of a population that is predominantly pastoralist or mixes farming with cattle grazing. It sells well on Tera’s market too.

Sustainable land management in drylands

Photo credit: WVC 2007-11-TINDOUF-PEPIN-FOREST-P1010348_2

Growing seedlings in plastic bottles: seedlings will be planted with their bottle.

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/use-plastic-bottles-instead-of-polybags-for-reforestation-willem-van-cotthem/

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/bottle-reforestation-to-combat-desertification-a-significant-success-willem-van-cotthem/

 

Lessons learned in sustainable land management in drylands

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Seedlings at a tree nursery in Burkina Faso. Photo Credit: Cheikh Mbow/ICRAF – https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8625/16435080117_810493cd1d_c.jpg

It’s now a well-established fact that land degradation costs the world an estimated US$40 billion annually, according to FAO and the UNCCD. This figure does not take into account other hidden costs associated with the increased use of fertilizers, the loss of biodiversity and the rapid disappearance of unique landscapes. Extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods, a changing and more variable climate, and the unsustainable use of the natural resources are amongst complex factors that drive land degradation. This in turn negatively affects land productivity, food security, socio-economic stability, health and wellbeing, and the provision of other ecosystem goods and services for billions of people worldwide. In drylands, these negative effects are felt ever more strongly given the already limited natural resources that characterize these regions.

Last year, 195 signatory countries to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) agreed in Ankara to set a new environmental target to achieve “Land Degradation Neutrality” by 2030. The concept had already been endorsed by UN General Assembly a month earlier in New York as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and reflected in SDG 15 for Life on Land. This landmark agreement commits countries, albeit on a voluntary basis, to restore or rehabilitate degraded lands every year and sets in motion a framework whereby this target might be achieved.

The achievement of a degradation-neutral World by 2030 is a huge challenge requiring effective and well-coordinated efforts on the part of many stakeholders, which must be supported by appropriate assessment and monitoring strategies. To date, interventions to halt or reverse land degradation, undertaken at national scales, have often been fragmented or affected by poor integration and limited assessment of impact. The effective scaling up of sustainable land management and restoration practices is vital to achieving this target. Scientific reviews of existing knowledge – both indigenous and technical, and global datasets such as the one amassed by the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) – which is a top global database recommended by the UNCCD, constitute an important asset that the international community can benefit from.

Read the full article: CGIAR

How to halt land degradation and desertification

Photo credit: FAO

Everyday life scenes of a pastoralist family – women collect water in Tera, Bajirga, Niger.

 

Partnership makes strides in promoting sustainable land management in Africa

Improved land management strategies and technologies being used across sub-Saharan Africa are helping protect the environment, boost agricultural productivity, strengthen livelihoods and enhance food security, according to a new study.

The document – published by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its TerrAfrica partners, including FAO, takes stock of lessons learned during the five-year TerrAfrica Strategic Investment Program (SIP) for sustainable land management.

TerrAfrica is an African-driven global partnership program to scale up sustainable land and water management across sub-Saharan Africa. Its SIP initiative – which ran from 2010 through 2015 – provided $150 million of land degradation funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and attracted co-financing of $800 million to support 36 projects in 26 countries. Working across a diverse range of farming systems, SIP support focused on scaling-up proven practices, strengthening advisory services, and improving policy frameworks and knowledge management. It resulted in sustainable land management practices being implemented on 2.7 million hectares, benefitting some 4.8 million people.

Implementing agencies included the African Development Bank, FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Bank, in close coordination with NEPAD and regional economic commissions. Projects were executed in partnership with governments and in collaboration with many development partners including civil society organizations.

The report aims to highlight key issues and provide guidance for future programmes and investments in sustainable land and ecosystem management on the continent.

Those lessons are already encouraging governments, partner agencies, NEPAD, the Africa Union and the donor community to scale-up sustainable land management practices across wider landscapes in view of the many productivity, livelihood and environmental benefits.

Read the full article: FAO

Let’s manage our land better

 

Photo credit: The World Bank

Every year, we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil to erosion and 12 million hectares of land to desertification and drought.  This threatens the lives and livelihoods of 1.5 billion people now.

To fight desertification, let’s manage our land better

SUBMITTED BY ADEMOLA BRAIMOH picture-10317-1418325798

In the future, desertification could displace up to 135 million people by 2045. Land degradation could also reduce global food production by up to 12% and push world food prices up by 30%. In Egypt, Ghana, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Paraguay, land degradation could cause an annual GDP loss of up to 7%.

Pressure on land resources is expected to increase as populations grow, socio-economic development happens and the climate changes. A growing population will demand more food, which means that unsuitable or especially biodiverse land will be claimed for farming and be more vulnerable to degradation. Increased fertilizer and pesticide use related to agriculture will increase nutrient loading in soils, causing eutrophication and declines in fertility over time. Climate change will also aggravate land degradation—especially in drylands, which occupy 40% of global land area, and are inhabited by some 2 billion people. Urban areas, which are located in the world’s highly fertile areas, could grow to account for more than 5% of global land by mid-century.

Unless we manage our land better, every person will rely on just .11 hectares of land for their food; down from .45 hectares in 1960.

So how do we manage land better?

It will all come down to what we do with our soil, which is the most significant natural capital for ensuring food, water, and energy security while adapting and building resilience to climate change and shocks. The soil’s nutrient cycling provides the largest contribution (51%) of the total value (USD33 trillion) of all ‘ecosystem services’ provided each year. But soil’s important function is often forgotten as the missing link in our pursuit of sustainable development.

We must invest in applicable solutions that are transformative, and can be scaled up. Climate-smart agriculture is an alternative approach to managing land sustainably whilst increasing agricultural productivity. It includes land management options that sequester carbon and enhance resilience to climate change. Proven climate-smart practices such as agroforestry, integrated soil fertility management, conservation agriculture, and improved irrigation can ensure that land is used optimally, restored and managed in a manner that maximizes ecological, economic and social benefits.

Read the full article: The World Bank

Restoration of Arid Lands: From Science to Practice

 

http://desertrestorationhub.com/2016/03/17/restoration-of-arid-lands-and-combat-of-desertification-from-science-to-practice/

Restoration of Arid Lands and Combat of Desertification: From Science to Practice

by

The final conference of COST Action ES1104 will take place at the University of Greenwich, London, on 30 and 31 March 2016. ‘Restoration of Arid Lands and Combat of Desertification: From Science to Practice’ will bring together an international line-up speakers from the ‘Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ to present review papers on best practice in drylands restoration and the results of recent research, in order to showcase the work which has taken place over the past four years.  High-profile experts from various international bodies and NGOs have been invited to take part in the panel discussions.

The programme can be downloaded here: Restoration of Arid Lands conference programme

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