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Key elements of the scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality


Land in Balance, a science-policy brief prepared by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

Scientific Conceptual Framework for Land Degradation Neutrality, a report of the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

UN Photo / Fred Noy

The land degradation neutrality (LDN) model (figure below) illustrates the interrelationships between the major elements of the scientific conceptual framework for LDN. The target at the top expresses the vision of LDN, emphasizing the link between human prosperity and land-based natural capital, which provides a range of ecosystem services. The balance scale in the centre illustrates the mechanism for achieving neutrality: counterbalancing future land degradation (losses) with planned positive actions elsewhere (gains) within the same land type. The fulcrum of the scale depicts the hierarchy of responses: avoiding degradation is the highest priority, followed by reducing degradation and finally reversing past degradation.


LDN model

The arrow at the bottom of the diagram illustrates that neutrality is assessed by monitoring the LDN indicators, relative to a fixed baseline. The arrow also shows that neutrality needs to be maintained over time, through land use planning that anticipates losses and plans gains, and applies adaptive learning by tracking impacts to enable mid-course adjustments and ensure that neutrality is maintained in the future.

Explore the key elements of the scientific conceptual framework for LDN through the LDN model: