Assessment of LDN achievements requires monitoring SOC change as one of the three global LDN indicators. However, limited data often hinders SOC monitoring, suggesting the need to invest in such an assessment. Yet, how do you know if an investment is necessary? To assist in this decision-making process, decision tree 1 provides guidance on where investment in SOC assessment and monitoring are recommended, to track the impact of SLM implementation and to support monitoring of LDN achievement in terms of SOC change in 2030. Decision tree 1 guides selection of SLM practices to increase or maintain SOC stocks and deliver other benefits, using information ranging from local knowledge to global datasets. The first step involves the evaluation of land health, which includes an assessment of land potential and land degradation status, which are preparatory steps of LDN planning.
Decision trees for SOC estimation and management to achieve LDN
Realising the Carbon Benefits of Sustainable Land Management Practices Guidelines for estimation of soil organic carbon in the context of land degradation neutrality planning and monitoring a report of the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface
Tools for Soil Organic Carbon Estimation and Management Science-Policy Brief prepared by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface
Land degradation neutrality (LDN) is achieved if land degradation is avoided or reduced, and new degradation is balanced by reversing degradation elsewhere in the same land type through restoration or rehabilitation.
The primary instrument for avoiding and reducing degradation is the application of sustainable land management, (SLM) approaches, and technologies. Because of its multifunctional roles and its sensitivity to land management, soil organic carbon (SOC) is one of the three global indicators for LDN, so predicting and monitoring change in SOC is vital to achieving LDN targets.
To optimize the use of limited resources to manage SOC using SLM to pursue LDN, the framework below guides the development, testing, and refinement of SOC assessment methods for application in SOC monitoring, to support the assessment of LDN achievement.
The following decision trees will guide efforts to predict change in SOC under alternative SLM practices, and monitor SOC change in response to SLM interventions, and thereby support decision-makers to pursue the right SLM interventions in the right locations, at the right time, at the right scale with the overall goal to increase or maintain SOC and improve soil health in support of LDN achievement.