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Drought-smart land management


The Land-Drought Nexus: Enhancing the role of land-based interventions in drought mitigation and risk management, a report of the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

Land Management and Drought Mitigation: Science-Policy Brief prepared by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

Drought is one of the major drivers of global food and water insecurity, affecting agricultural production and access to food and water. Drought can, in extreme cases, force people to abandon their land, resorting to migration as their last livelihood strategy, making the prospect of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 more difficult. Land management practices offer opportunities for mitigating the effects of drought and, more generally, refocusing actions on “proactive drought risk management”. 

Sustainable land management (SLM), nature-based solutions (NBS), ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) are proactive, effective approaches for improving long-term ecosystem and human resilience. 

Drought-smart land management (D-SLM) characterizes land-based interventions for drought mitigation.


Such D-SLM interventions improve the capacity of soil to accept, retain, release and transmit water and increase plant water use efficiency. They can do so broadly by increasing the water supply where it is needed by living organisms (e.g., crop root systems) or by reducing water demand (e.g., drought-resistant crop varieties). D-SLM interventions contribute to avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation under the LDN framework.

     Table sources

The table provides a synthesis of D-SLM measures organized into 14 groups made up of different types of strategies and interventions. These are considered with respect to four land use types (crop, grazing, forests and woodlands, and mixed) and an assessment of the impact of the D-SLM practices on soil, water, biophysical/ecosystem attributes and socioeconomic factors that determine ecosystem and human resilience to drought.