CASCADE Catastrophic shifts in drylands: how can we prevent ecosystem degradation? Final Publishable Summary : EU - FP7 project Grant Agreement Number 283068
Elsen, H.G.M. van den; Hessel, R. ; Stringer, L.C. ; Daliakopoulos, I.N. ; Tsanis, I. ; Garcia Major, A. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Bautista, S. ; Valdecantos, A. ; Vallejo, R.L. ; Kefi, S. ; Schneider, F. ; Baudena, M. ; Rietkerk, M. ; Fleskens, L. ; Schwilch, G. ; Juckers, Mara ; Geeson, Nicky ; Brandt, J. ; Sietz, D. ; Ita, C. de - \ 2017
Wageningen : Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) - 35 p.
Challenging conservation agriculture on marginal slopes in Sehoul, Morocco
Schwilch, G. ; Laouina, A. ; Chaker, M. ; Machouri, N. ; Sfa, M. ; Stroosnijder, L. - \ 2015
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 30 (2015)3. - ISSN 1742-1705 - p. 233 - 251.
land degradation - rainwater use - management - soil - efficiency - adoption - africa
In Sehoul, Morocco, the use of marginal land for agriculture became a necessity for the local population due to increased poverty and the occupation of the best land by new owners. Desertification poses an additional threat to agricultural production on marginal slopes, which are often stony and degraded. In a participatory process embedded in the EU DESIRE research project, potential sustainable land management measures were selected to address land degradation and desertification. Promising experiences with no-tillage practices elsewhere in Morocco had motivated the Moroccan government to promote conservation agriculture throughout the country. This combination of crop rotation, minimal soil disturbance and soil cover maintenance, however, had not yet been tested on sloping degraded land. Field trials of grazing enclosure combined with no or minimum tillage were conducted on the plots of two farmers, and trial results were analyzed based on stakeholders’ criteria. Results suggest that increased soil cover with barley residues improved rainwater use efficiency and yields only slightly, although soil water was generally enhanced. Soil moisture measurements revealed that no-tillage was favorable mainly at soil depths of 5cm and in connection with low-rainfall events (<20mm); under these circumstances, moisture content was generally higher under no-tillage than under conventional tillage. Moreover, stakeholder discussion confirmed that farmers in Sehoul remain primarily interested in animal husbandry and are reluctant to change the current grazing system. Implementation of conservation agriculture is thus challenged both by the degraded, sloping and stony nature of the land, and by the socio-economic circumstances in Sehoul.
Combining analytiacal frameworks to assess livelihood vulnerability to climate change and analyse adaptiation option
Reed, M.S. ; Podesta, G. ; Fazey, I. ; Geeson, N. ; Hessel, R. ; Hubacek, K. ; Letson, D. ; Nainggolan, D. ; Prell, C. ; Rickenbach, M.G. ; Ritsema, C.J. ; Schwilch, G. ; Springer, L.C. ; Thomas, A.D. - \ 2013
Ecological Economics 94 (2013). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 66 - 77.
natural-resource management - adaptive capacity - local-communities - rational choice - south-africa - sustainability - agriculture - variability - indicators - challenges
Experts working on behalf of international development organisations need better tools to assist land managers in developing countries maintain their livelihoods, as climate change puts pressure on the ecosystem services that they depend upon. However, current understanding of livelihood vulnerability to climate change is based on a fractured and disparate set of theories and methods. This review therefore combines theoretical insights from sustainable livelihoods analysis with other analytical frameworks (including the ecosystem services framework, diffusion theory, social learning, adaptive management and transitions management) to assess the vulnerability of rural livelihoods to climate change. This integrated analytical framework helps diagnose vulnerability to climate change, whilst identifying and comparing adaptation options that could reduce vulnerability, following four broad steps: i) determine likely level of exposure to climate change, and how climate change might interact with existing stresses and other future drivers of change; ii) determine the sensitivity of stocks of capital assets and flows of ecosystem services to climate change; iii) identify factors influencing decisions to develop and/or adopt different adaptation strategies, based on innovation or the use/substitution of existing assets; and iv) identify and evaluate potential trade-offs between adaptation options. The paper concludes by identifying interdisciplinary research needs for assessing the vulnerability of livelihoods to climate change.
A structured multi-stakeholder learning process for Sustainable Land Management
Schwilch, G. ; Bachmann, F. ; Valente, S. ; Coelho, C. ; Moreira, J. ; Laouina, A. ; Chaker, M. ; Aderghal, M. ; Santos, P. ; Reed, M.S. - \ 2012
Journal of Environmental Management 107 (2012). - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 52 - 63.
public-participation - decision-support - governance - comanagement - environment - bolivia - india - slm
There are many, often competing, options for Sustainable Land Management (SLM). Each must be assessed and sometimes negotiated prior to implementation. Participatory, multi-stakeholder approaches to identification and selection of SLM options are increasingly popular, often motivated by social learning and empowerment goals. Yet there are few practical tools for facilitating processes in which land managers may share, select, and decide on the most appropriate SLM options. The research presented here aims to close the gap between the theory and the practice of stakeholder participation/learning in SLM decision-making processes. The paper describes a three-part participatory methodology for selecting SLM options that was tested in 14 desertification-prone study sites within the EU-DESIRE project. Cross-site analysis and in-depth evaluation of the Moroccan and Portuguese sites were used to evaluate how well the proposed process facilitated stakeholder learning and selection of appropriate SLM options for local implementation. The structured nature of the process starting with SLM goal setting was found to facilitate mutual understanding and collaboration between stakeholders. The deliberation process led to a high degree of consensus over the outcome and, though not an initial aim, it fostered social learning in many cases. This solution-oriented methodology is applicable in a wide range of contexts and may be implemented with limited time and resources. .
A process for effective desertification mitigation
Schwilch, G. - \ 2012
Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Leo Stroosnijder; H. Hurni, co-promotor(en): Jan de Graaff. - S.l. : s.n. - ISBN 9789461732880 - 178
woestijnvorming - grondbeheer - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - besluitvorming - participatie - stakeholders - bodembescherming - milieueffect - mitigatie - desertification - land management - sustainability - decision making - participation - stakeholders - soil conservation - environmental impact - mitigation
in these ecosystems can easily result in widespread and severe land degradation and thus desertification.
Mapping the impact of SLM - the WOCAT - DESIRE experience
Lynden, G.W.J. van; Verzandvoort, S.J.E. ; Schwilch, G. ; Liniger, H.P. - \ 2012
ABSTRACT Since 1992, the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) initiative has developed a standardized method for documentation of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices. The resulting on-line database currently counts over 450 technologies and over 350 approaches (implementation strategies) from around 50 countries. WOCAT also developed a tool to map land degradation and conservation. This method complements the information provided by the individual case studies on technologies and approaches. It evaluates what land degradation is occurring where and what is done about. The challenge is now to implement SLM practices that address environmental, economic and social concerns, i.e. decreasing degradation and improving ecosystems, while enhancing agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of land users. Research to show and quantify these impacts of SLM practices and on implementation strategies is undertaken in projects like DESIRE, in which the WOCAT methods and tools were used and further developed, from which results are presented herewith. These showed that land degradation mainly occurred as water erosion on cultivated and mixed land use. Degradation was increasing in most sites, primarily caused by inappropriate soil management. Indirectly, population pressure, insecure land tenure, and poverty appeared to be major causes of degradation. Land degradation negatively affected ecosystem services for almost all degraded areas. High negative impacts were observed regarding regulation of ecosystem services indicating that these require particular attention when developing and implementing remediation strategies. SLM measures appeared most effective on cultivated land, but positive impacts were also recorded for relatively large areas of forest and grazing land. Combinations of SLM measures appeared to perform better than single measures. Overall, there appears to be scope for improving SLM contributions to ecosystem services in cultivated land.
Desire for greener land : options for sustainable land management in drylands
Schwilch, G. ; Hessel, R. ; Verzandvoort, S.J.E. - \ 2012
Bern [etc.] : University of Bern [etc.] - ISBN 9789461733290 - 282
droge gebieden - grondbeheer - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - duurzaam bodemgebruik - woestijnvorming - bodembescherming - waterbeheer - teeltsystemen - begrazingsbeheer - bosbedrijfsvoering - arid lands - land management - sustainability - sustainable land use - desertification - soil conservation - water management - cropping systems - grazing management - forest management
Desire for Greener Land compiles options for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in drylands. It is a result of the integrated research project DESIRE (Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land - A Global Approach for Local Solutions). Lasting five years (2007–2012) and funded within the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme, DESIRE brought together the expertise of 26 international research institutes and non-governmental organisations. The DESIRE project aimed to establish promising alternative land use and management strategies in 17 degradation and desertification sites around the world, relying on close collaboration between scientists and local stakeholder groups. The study sites provided a global laboratory in which researchers could apply, test, and identify new and innovative approaches to combatting desertification. The resulting SLM strategies are local- to regional-scale interventions designed to increase productivity, preserve natural resource bases, and improve people’s livelihoods. These were documented and mapped using the internationally recognised WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) methodological framework, which formed an integral part of the DESIRE project. The DESIRE approach offers an integrated multidisciplinary way of working together from the beginning to the end of a project; it enables scientists, local stakeholders and policy makers to jointly find solutions to desertification. This book describes the DESIRE approach and WOCAT methodology for a range of audiences, from local agricultural advisors to scientists and policymakers. Links are provided to manuals and online materials, enabling application of the various tools and methods in similar projects. The book also includes an analysis of the current context of degradation and SLM in the study sites, in addition to analysis of the SLM technologies and approaches trialled in the DESIRE project. Thirty SLM technologies, eight SLM approaches, and several degradation and SLM maps from all the DESIRE study sites are compiled in a concise and well-illustrated format, following the style of this volume’s forerunner where the land is greener (WOCAT 2007). Finally, conclusions and policy points are presented on behalf of decision makers, the private sector, civil society, donors, and the research community. These are intended to support people’s efforts to invest wisely in the sustainable management of land – enabling greener drylands to become a reality, not just a desire.
Decision support for selecting SLM technologies with stakeholders
Schwilch, G. ; Bachmann, F. ; Graaff, J. de - \ 2012
Applied Geography 34 (2012). - ISSN 0143-6228 - p. 86 - 98.
forest management - land-use - conservation measures - multiple criteria - participation - sustainability - experiences - soil
Sustainable Land Management (SLM) is a classic multi-stakeholder issue, concerning individual and community land users, agricultural advisors, natural resource managers, government authorities, civil society, and researchers alike. Selecting appropriate SLM technologies for implementation requires an approach capable of integrating the diverse knowledge, perceptions, and judgements of stakeholders. Time and resource constraints often impede the development of contextualised, targeted, and sophisticated Decision Support Systems (DSS). The EU-DESIRE research project provided an excellent opportunity to develop and test a generic decision support system, and overall methodology, using it to assist 14 study site teams in selecting the most promising SLM option(s) in a stakeholder workshop, for eventual test implementation in the field. Special attention was paid to screening local innovations, selecting and adapting potential SLM technologies, and the decision-making process regarding effective implementation. This paper reviews application of the DESIRE-DSS in a variety of biophysical and socio-economic contexts, finding it to be well structured, holistic, and relatively easy-to-apply. The built-in global database of SLM options provides knowledge from various environments, while the use of simple software enables easy calculation and visualisation of results. The scoring and negotiation of each option’s sustainability forces stakeholders to consider and acknowledge each other’s positions and opinions, ensuring that the final choice is well-accepted. The methodology includes seeking commitments from stakeholders to implement the selected option(s). Challenges include the complexity of the issues at hand and the need for capable moderators. Yet positive outcomes and user feedback confirm that the DESIRE-DSS is an easy-to-use stepwise methodology for facilitation of decision-focused participatory processes.
Experiences in monitoring and assessment of sustainable land management
Schwilch, G. ; Bestelmeyer, B. ; Bunning, S. ; Critchley, W. ; Herrick, J. ; Kellner, K. ; Liniger, H.P. ; Nachtergaele, F. ; Ritsema, C.J. ; Schuster, B. ; Tabo, R. ; Lynden, G.W.J. van - \ 2011
Land Degradation and Development 22 (2011)2. - ISSN 1085-3278 - p. 214 - 225.
degradation - desertification - participation - system
Although sustainable land management (SLM) is widely promoted to prevent and mitigate land degradation and desertification, its monitoring and assessment (M&A) has received much less attention. This paper compiles methodological approaches which to date have been little reported in the literature. It draws lessons from these experiences and identifies common elements and future pathways as a basis for a global approach. The paper starts with local level methods where the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) framework catalogues SLM case studies. This tool has been included in the local level assessment of Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) and in the EU-DESIRE project. Complementary site-based approaches can enhance an ecological process-based understanding of SLM variation. At national and sub-national levels, a joint WOCAT/LADA/DESIRE spatial assessment based on land use systems identifies the status and trends of degradation and SLM, including causes, drivers and impacts on ecosystem services. Expert consultation is combined with scientific evidence and enhanced where necessary with secondary data and indicator databases. At the global level, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) knowledge from the land (KM:Land) initiative uses indicators to demonstrate impacts of SLM investments. Key lessons learnt include the need for a multi-scale approach, making use of common indicators and a variety of information sources, including scientific data and local knowledge through participatory methods. Methodological consistencies allow cross-scale analyses, and findings are analysed and documented for use by decision-makers at various levels. Effective M&A of SLM [e.g. for United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)] requires a comprehensive methodological framework agreed by the major players