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Best practices in sustainable land management

The UNCCD Knowledge Hub presents best practices in sustainable land management (SLM) technologies, including examples of best practices categorised by land use type and technology group. Policy makers, researchers, land users, and other stakeholders interested in land management can find practical information and useful resources on SLM best practices to support effective SLM planning and implementation.





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Sustainable land management: overview

Sustainable land management (SLM) was defined at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 as “the use of land resources, including soils, water, animals and plants, for the production of goods to meet changing human needs, while simultaneously ensuring the long-term productive potential of these resources and the maintenance of their environmental functions” (Sanz et al., 2017, p.30).

SLM represents a wide range of agronomic, vegetative, management and structural technologies and practices in agricultural and (semi)natural land, based on the key principles of maintaining and enhancing the productivity and protection of natural resources, while being economically viable and socially acceptable. SLM is applicable to any ecosystem and land use type, and there are many examples from around the world of successful application of SLM best practices by land users.

SLM initiatives are widely accepted and documented within the scientific community, based on site-specific research, which is providing increasing evidence that SLM can simultaneously address desertification, land degradation, and drought while also contributing directly to land-based climate change mitigation and adaptation, the objectives of the three Rio Conventions and to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Policy makers can play a crucial role in creating the necessary conditions for large-scale implementation of effective SLM (Sustainable Land Management for Climate and People, UNCCD Science-Policy Brief 03). This could include making use of policy instruments to incentivise SLM adoption and collaborating with land users and other relevant stakeholders to develop SLM initiatives that are adapted to the local context, bring tangible and long-term benefits, and align with national priorities.


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