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Analysis of the impact of management scenarios in tackling land degradation in sub-Saharan Africa: multi-criteria approach to match a problem to its potential solution

By: Desta L T | Le Q B | Aynekulu B E | Sileshi G W | Tondoh J E | Kihara J | Vlek P L G | Winowiecki L A.
2012Description: p554.Subject(s): World Agroforestry era | Land degradation | Management scenarios | NDVI | rainfall | restoration | sub-Saharan Africa | food security | Integrity | land managementOnline resources: Click here to access online Science in progress - D3 In: In: Tropentag 2012: Resilience of agricultural systems against crises, Book of abstracts Tielkes E (ed), Göttingen, GermanySummary: Land degradation is a serious environmental problem with widespread effect at differ- ent scales. Due to its complexity and wide geographical coverage, it is not economi- cally and technically possible to manage all areas affected. Tackling land degradation and restoring degraded landscapes thus require information on hotspots that require priority intervention. Long-term (1982–2003) satellite based vegetation greenness signal (NDVI) and rainfall data were used to analyse land productivity and identify major areas of concern in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Next, available literature has been consulted to identify suitable management options that can be adapted to the environmental conditions of hotspots. The impacts of the identi fi ed management and restoration options in reversing land degradation were then assessed using scenario analysis. Results show that application of conservation agriculture to restore degraded croplands can improve land productivity and food security of about 14 million people. Setting-aside degraded areas and allowing them to recover ( e.g. , through enclosures) could improve productivity of ca. 0.3 million km 2 land. However, this intervention requires designing ways of accommodating the needs of about 8.7 million people who utilise those ’marginal’ areas for cultivation or livestock grazing. The study illustrates the impact of land degradation on land productivity and the feasibility of suitable land management and restoration measures to tackle the problem. Such analyses can make an important contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals 1 and 7, enhancing food security without compromising ecological health and integrity.
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Land degradation is a serious environmental problem with widespread effect at differ- ent scales. Due to its complexity and wide geographical coverage, it is not economi- cally and technically possible to manage all areas affected. Tackling land degradation and restoring degraded landscapes thus require information on hotspots that require priority intervention. Long-term (1982–2003) satellite based vegetation greenness signal (NDVI) and rainfall data were used to analyse land productivity and identify major areas of concern in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Next, available literature has been consulted to identify suitable management options that can be adapted to the environmental conditions of hotspots. The impacts of the identi fi ed management and restoration options in reversing land degradation were then assessed using scenario analysis. Results show that application of conservation agriculture to restore degraded croplands can improve land productivity and food security of about 14 million people. Setting-aside degraded areas and allowing them to recover ( e.g. , through enclosures) could improve productivity of ca. 0.3 million km 2 land. However, this intervention requires designing ways of accommodating the needs of about 8.7 million people who utilise those ’marginal’ areas for cultivation or livestock grazing. The study illustrates the impact of land degradation on land productivity and the feasibility of suitable land management and restoration measures to tackle the problem. Such analyses can make an important contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals 1 and 7, enhancing food security without compromising ecological health and integrity.

Southern Africa

2012238

Science in progress - D3

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