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Contribution of community-based initiatives to the sustainable development goal of Land Degradation Neutrality

van Haren, Nathalie, Fleiner, Renate, Liniger, Hanspeter, Harari, Nicole
Environmental science & policy 2019 v.94 pp. 211-219
carbon sinks, databases, economic incentives, farmers, governance, issues and policy, land cover, land degradation, land productivity, land tenure, natural regeneration, poverty, risk, sustainable land management, vegetation cover
Where poor people rely on land that is degraded or vulnerable to degradation, they are at high risk of being locked into a downward spiral of poverty. It is estimated that over 1.5 billion people are affected by land degradation (UNCCD, 2014).The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) and Both ENDS and their networks of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), promote sustainable land management (SLM) as a necessary shift from degrading the land to sustainable use and restoration. However, many SLM initiatives started by communities remain below the radar of policy makers and government institutions and therefore, being unrecognised for what they are, do not get institutional support, i.e. an enabling policy environment, economic incentives, and the technical support that they need to develop and be adopted by others.This paper analyses the contribution of community-based initiatives to SDG15.3: Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), and the three LDN indicators: land cover, land productivity and carbon stocks. In addition, enabling conditions for community-based initiatives to contribute to the implementation of LDN are identified and discussed. The contribution of community-based SLM initiatives to LDN will be illustrated by the SLM practices documented in WOCAT’s global database and by the example of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). It is concluded that community-based SLM initiatives can make a relevant contribution to addressing land degradation and achieving LDN, particularly so by improving land productivity and carbon stocks, and to some extent and in the case of FMNR, vegetation cover also. Creating enabling conditions for community-based initiatives to develop include: knowledge development by scientists, local communities and policy makers, inclusive land governance (land tenure security, strengthening institutions and the recognition of local knowledge), and access to technical and financial resources.