Sustainable land management for cropland
Sustainable Land Management contribution to successful land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation: A report of the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI)
Croplands are lands that are used for the cultivation of crops (WOCAT, 2016). According to the IPCC 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, this can include “all annual and perennial crops as well as temporary fallow land (i.e., land set at rest for one or several years before being cultivated again) [and] arable land which is normally used for cultivation of annual crops but which is temporarily used for forage crops or grazing as part of an annual crop-pasture rotation (mixed system)” (IPCC, 2006).
Land management challenges in croplands
Croplands face many land management challenges, including soil degradation, which is caused by natural factors, such as wind and water erosion, and human-induced factors, such as inappropriate agricultural practices, particularly on vulnerable soils and marginal production areas.
According to the report on sustainable land management (SLM) by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI), soil degradation can damage soil quality and functioning, which could lead to the loss of topsoil organic matter and nutrients, acidification, and erosion. The situation is even more problematic in drylands, where land degradation, nutrient deficiencies, and increasing water scarcity and drought represent further constraints. Soil erosion in particular can cause off-site impacts, such as damage to private and public infrastructure, reduced water quality, increased sedimentation of rivers, deltas and reservoirs, and landslides.
Examples of related SLM technologies
Croplands have one of the greatest varieties of adaptable sustainable land management (SLM) technologies adapted to deal with land management challenges, ranging from soil erosion control, and soil, water, and vegetation management. Below are examples of best practices in these technologies cited in the report on SLM by the SPI.