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Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources

Evaluation Systems, Strategies and Tools

image of Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources

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.

English

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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.

English

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