How can we ensure that efforts to restore degraded lands deliver results that meet the expectations of committed governments and financial investors? Panelists debated at the Global Landscapes Forum last weekend.
On whether large-scale land initiatives can fulfil their promise, my short answer is ‘Yes’ but they require adjustments and transformative reforms of old ideas and approaches on sustainable land management.
Those who travelled across various parts of Ethiopia have witnessed the rugged and degraded landscapes. They have observed the enormity of environmental deterioration and might have wondered how an ‘Agricultural-led Industrialization’ could be possible in the country.
Can large-scale land initiatives fulfill their promises? Yes. In a word. It doesn’t have to cost the earth - but it’s not dirt cheap, and it takes a whole community. Ask Fred Kihara, fund manager at The Nature Conservancy in Kenya.
New month-long online discussion begins: Large-scale land interventions are on the rise. Whether through restoration projects such as the new 20x20 initiative and the Bonn Challenge, or foreign direct investment in huge swaths of land, investors are seeing big opportunities in large land projects. But can they fulfil their promises?
Constantly monitoring where and when problems occur allows health professionals to predict potential trouble spots and target their interventions. It is perhaps surprising then, that other challenges to our wellbeing do not always receive such close attention. Take soils for example.
Mongolian herders are maintaining the centuries old practice of moving from season to season to find new grasslands for their livestock, the primary source of their nomadic livelihood. Right now it is time to move to their winter camps and enter the most critical period of the year – the months of extremely cold weather.
How can we best protect forests for the myriad ecosystem services they provide – capturing and storing carbon, protecting river systems and soils, maintaining biodiversity and ensuring access to bushmeat? The presumption is that the local forest dwellers and users have to be kept out. But that increasingly looks like exactly the wrong approach.
Managing a landscape begins much like a dance. But in integrated landscape management there are far more than two partners, and it is an ongoing challenge to balance different objectives and coordinate interests into one coherent set of activities.