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Potential strategies - related publications Print

These publications by DESIRE partners relate to the research work undertaken in "Potential prevention and mitigation strategies".

 

Papers

Experiences in monitoring and assessment of sustainable land management

G. Schwilch, B. Bestelmeyer, S. Bunning, W. Critchley, J. Herrick, K. Kellner, H.P. Liniger, F. Nachtergaele, C.J. Ritsema, B. Schuster, R. Tabo, G. van Lynden, M. Winslow

»Land Degradation & Development Special Issue Special Issue on Understanding Dryland Degradation Trends Volume 22, Issue 2, pages 214–225, March/April 2011

 
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. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
 

 

Appraising and selecting conservation measures to mitigate desertification and land degradation based on stakeholder participation and global best practices

G. Schwilch, F. Bachmann, HP. Liniger

»Land Degradation & Development Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 308–326, May/June 2009

 
Most desertification research focuses on degradation assessments without putting sufficient emphasis on prevention and mitigation strategies, although the concept of sustainable land management (SLM) is increasingly being acknowledged. A variety of already applied conservation measures exist at the local level, but they are not adequately recognised, evaluated and shared, either by land users, technicians, researchers, or policy makers. Likewise, collaboration between research and implementation is often insufficient. The aim of this paper is to present a new methodology for a participatory process of appraising and selecting desertification mitigation strategies, and to present first experiences from its application in the EU-funded DESIRE project. The methodology combines a collective learning and decision approach with the use of evaluated global best practices. In three parts, it moves through a concise process, starting with identifying land degradation and locally applied solutions in a stakeholder workshop, leading to assessing local solutions with a standardised evaluation tool, and ending with jointly selecting promising strategies for implementation with the help of a decision support tool. The methodology is currently being applied in 16 study sites. Preliminary analysis from the application of the first part of the methodology shows that the initial stakeholder workshop results in a good basis for stakeholder cooperation, and in promising land conservation practices for further assessment. Study site research teams appreciated the valuable results, as burning issues and promising options emerged from joint reflection. The methodology is suitable to initiate mutual learning among different stakeholder groups and to integrate local and scientific knowledge.
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 

 

Decision support for selecting SLM technologies with stakeholders

G. Schwilch, F. Bachmann, J. de Graaff

»Applied Geography 34: 86-98, 2012

 
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.

 

 

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 MS

»Journal of Environmental Management 107: 52-63, 2012

 
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.
 

 

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices in drylands: how do they address desertification threats?

Schwilch G, Liniger HP, Hurni H.

»Environmental Management (in press), 2013

 
Managing land sustainably is a huge challenge, especially under harsh climatic conditions such as those found in drylands. The socio-economic situation can also pose challenges, as dryland regions are often characterized by remoteness, marginality, low-productive farming, weak institutions, and even conflict. With threats from climate change, disputes over water, competing claims on land, and migration increasing worldwide, the demands for sustainable land management (SLM) measures will only increase in the future. Within the EU-funded DESIRE project, researchers and stakeholders jointly identified existing SLM technologies and approaches in 17 dryland study sites located in the Mediterranean and around the world. In order to evaluate and share this valuable SLM experience, local researchers documented the SLM technologies and approaches in collaboration with land users, utilizing the internationally recognized WOCAT questionnaires. This article provides an analysis of 30 technologies and 8 approaches, enabling an initial evaluation of how SLM addresses prevalent dryland threats, such as water scarcity, soil degradation, vegetation degradation and low production, climate change, resource use conflicts, and migration. Among the impacts attributed to the documented technologies, those mentioned most were diversified and enhanced production and better management of water and soil degradation, whether through water harvesting, improving soil moisture, or reducing runoff. Favorable local-scale cost–benefit relationships were mainly found when considered over the long term. Nevertheless, SLM was found to improve people’s livelihoods and prevent further outmigration. More field research is needed to reinforce expert assessments of SLM impacts and provide the necessary evidence-based rationale for investing in SLM.
 

 

Desire for Greener Land. Options for Sustainable Land Management in Drylands

Schwilch, G., Hessel, R. and Verzandvoort, S. (Eds)

Bern, Switzerland, and Wageningen, The Netherlands: University of Bern - CDE, Alterra - Wageningen UR, ISRIC - World Soil Information and CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, 2013

 
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 combating 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.

 

 

Conferences

  • Schwilch, G.; Bachmann, F.; Gabathuler, E.; Liniger, HP.: 2008 A methodology to appraise and select strategies to mitigate desertification based on stakeholder participation and global best practices. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 10, # 10606.
  • Schwilch, G., Bachmann, F., Gabathuler, E., Liniger, HP.: 2008 A methodology for appraising and selecting strategies to mitigate desertification based on stakeholders participation and global best practices. Proceedings of the ISCO congress 2008, Budapest.
  • Schwilch G.: Decision support for effective implementation and up-scaling SLM. Proceedings of the WOCAT Symposium on Promoting Sustainable Land Management (SLM) for its Local and Global Impacts, 20 October 2008, Bern.
  • Schwilch G, Bachmann F, Liniger HP, Reed M. 2009. Appraising and Selecting SLM Solutions. Poster presented at UNCCD First Scientific Conference ‘Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends’ at COP-9, Buenos Aires.
  • Presentation of PhD work G. Schwilch at the international DESIRE PhD conference in Enschede 18-20 May 2010
  • Presentation of WB3 transdisciplinary experiences at the Swiss Transdisciplinary Network (td-net) conference on 15 Sep 2010 in Geneva.
  • Presentation of DESIRE decision support methodology within a WOCAT presentation at the international Tropentag conference in Zürich on 15 Sep 2010
  • Presentation of DESIRE and WOCAT methods at the international Desurvey conference in Rome on 28-29 Sep 2010
  • Presentation of DESIRE and WOCAT methods at the International LANDCON conference in Xi'ian, China on Oct 12-15 2010
  • Presentation 13 April 2011, Université Mohamed V, Rabat, Morocco by Gudrun Schwilch on «La problématique d’évaluation des technologies et des approches de la gestion durable des terres (GDT)»
  • Presentation at the “researchers’ night” of the University of Bern, 23 Sep 2011 by Gudrun Schwilch on “Using land for the benefit of all”

 

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 combating 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.

 
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Acknowledgement

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The DESIRE project was 
co-funded by the
European Commission,
Global Change and
Ecosystem.
Contract no: 037046 GOCE

DESIRE brought together the expertise of
26 international research institutes
and non-governmental organisations.

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