Land users are positive about long-term benefits of sustainable practices

26.11.2015 By: European Commission

Economic factors are key to the adoption of sustainable farming practices. Upfront costs can be barriers even if there are accepted long-term economic benefits. There is a pressing global need for the adoption of improved techniques, as land degradation — which includes effects such as losses in soil fertility, soil erosion, and lowering of the water table — leads to losses in productivity and disruption to ecosystem services.

Sustainable land management refers to a wide range of practices and technologies that prevent, mitigate or rehabilitate damage to land, therefore protecting or enhancing the natural resources of that land and its surroundings. There are structural measures, such as terraces, banks and dams; agronomic measures, such as mulching and increasing organic matter in soil; vegetative measures, such as tree planting and hedging; and management measures, such as grazing timing and change of species compositions.

The authors assessed data from 363 case studies conducted internationally between 1990 and 2012 which are held by the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT). 46% of studies were from Africa, 41% from Asia, 7% from Europe, and a small portion from South America and Australia.

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Source:  "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.