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LDN tools


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

The following tools and resources were presented in the publication “Scientific Conceptual Framework for Land Degradation Neutrality: A Report of the Science-Policy Interface” as examples of sources of information that countries pursuing land degradation neutrality (LDN) could use. The list is not exhaustive, and other useful tools and resources for LDN implementation and monitoring can be found in the Knowledge Sharing Systems on the Knowledge Hub.

Guidelines for Land Degradation Neutrality

These guidelines support GEF project developers in formulating projects that contribute to the LDN ambitions of countries and in ensuring that other projects not directly targeting LDN are compatible with LDN objectives and approaches.

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Tools/methods and capacity building for resilience assessments

Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA)

Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists (SHARP)

Sustainable land management and land restoration This FAO e-learning course focuses on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices, and their place within the global development agenda, specifically in order to achieve target 15.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims "to achieve a land degradation-neutral world". The course assists policy makers, practitioners and land users in the selection, planning, implementation, and monitoring of SLM interventions, and related enabling environment.

Tools/methods and capacity building for economic valuation

Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative

Land Use Trade-Offs (LUTO)

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

Tools/methods to estimate land potential and land stratification

Global Agro-ecological Zoning Tool (GAEZ)

Land Capability Classification system

Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS)

Global Land Outlook working paper: Land use planning

The overall introduction of LADA methodology and results LADA is a science-based approach to assessing and mapping land degradation and improvements by applying SLM at different spatial scales and at various levels. It was initiated in drylands, but the methods and tools have been developed so as to be widely applicable in other ecosystems and diverse contexts with minimal required adaptation. Adopting the LADA approach can assist the development of national action plans, strategies and policies for combating desertification, improving food security and alleviating rural poverty, especially in response to climate change.

The establishment of a national Land Use System map (LUS) Mapping Land Use Systems at global and regional scales for land degradation assessment and analysis.

The multi-disciplinary, participatory expert assessment of the LUS at (sub)national level, guided by the Questionnaire for Mapping (LADA QM) Questionnaire for Mapping Land Degradation and Sustainable Land Management (QM – Version 2). The WOCAT-LADA-DESIRE mapping tool is based on the original WOCAT mapping questionnaire (WOCAT, 2007). It has been expanded to pay more attention to issues such as biological and water degradation, it also places more emphasis on direct and socio-economic causes of these phenomena, including their impacts on ecosystem services. Linking the information obtained through the questionnaire to a geographical information system (GIS) allows the production of maps and area calculations on various aspects of land degradation as well as conservation.

Guidelines for the national assessment and mapping of land degradation and conservation This document is designed to support and guide national experts and institutions in preparing and implementing participatory national and subnational assessments of land degradation and Sustainable Land Management in a stepwise approach (based on the LADA-WOCAT QM).

Collect Earth is a custom built, open-source, satellite image viewing and interpretation system developed by SERVIR – a joint NASA and USAID program in partnership with regional technical organizations around the world – and the FAO as a tool for use in projects that require land cover and/or land use reference data. 

Trends.Earth is an online platform that monitors "land degradation" – the reduction or loss of the biological or economic productivity of land. Using satellite imagery and global data, Trends.Earth can identify degraded areas and help decision-makers improve them.

Synergizing global tools to monitor progress towards land degradation neutrality: Trends.Earth and WOCAT SLM database

Tools to integrate gender considerations into the design of preliminary assessments

Gender and Land Rights Database (GLRD)

Towards a gender-responsive implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Tools to develop other indicators/metrics to monitor LDN implementation

Red List Index

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Tools to support local community participation in verification of LDN indicators/metrics

Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF)

Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS)

LADA-Local provides a methodological approach and tool-kit for the assessment of land degradation processes, their causes and impacts at local level in collaboration with local stakeholders and communities. The focus is on human-induced land degradation; however, natural degradation processes are also addressed. For a more balanced and complete understanding, the approach also assesses the extent to which land resources (soil, vegetation, water) and landscapes/ecosystems are being conserved and/or improved by sustainable land management practices

Achieving LDN: The role of SLM knowledge in evidence-based decision-making

Combining Earth Observations, Cloud Computing, and Expert Knowledge to Inform National Level Degradation Assessments in Support of the 2030 Development Agenda

Information from assessments that can support LDN implementation

Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative

Global Environment Outlook (GEO) assessments

Global Land Outlook (GLO)

Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment (LDRA)

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)

Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems

Tools for integrated land-use planning

Tools that assist in balancing multiple objectives and identifying co-benefits and trade-offs:

  • Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM): IUCN and WRI (2014). A guide to the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM): Assessing forest landscape restoration opportunities at the national or sub-national level. Working Paper (Road-test edition). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 125pp.
  • Land-Use Trade-Offs (LUTO) model: See, for example: Bryan, B.A., et al. (2016). Land-use and sustainability under intersecting global change and domestic policy scenarios: Trajectories for Australia to 2050. Global Environmental Change, vol. 38, pp. 130–152.
  • Decision Support for Mainstreaming and Scaling up of Sustainable Land Management (DS-SLM) Enhancing informed decision-making to address global, national and local land degradation issues and promote sustainable land management responses.
  • The Sustainable Land Management Mainstreaming Tool This tool was developed to assist countries in the design of an operational SLM mainstreaming strategy and action plan to structure and monitor activities for integrating SLM into key national policies, planning and financial decisions and therewith promote the wider adoption of SLM practices.
  • FAO Land Resources Planning Toolbox The LRP Toolbox is a freely accessible online source for a range of stakeholders, directly or indirectly involved in land use planning. The Toolbox contains a comprehensive number of existing tools and approaches that are used to implement land resources planning.
  • Landscapes for life – Approaches to landscape management for sustainable food and agriculture This publication presents FAO’s key initiatives in support of the landscape approach and represents an important step in consolidating these knowledge resources in support of country commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Choosing SLM practices to address local land degradation issues and context

Estimating potential soil carbon response to SLM

  • Carbon Benefits Project (CBP) tool: CBP offers web-based tools, including a simple and a detailed version. The simple tool is suitable for ex ante estimates;the detailed assessment tool is applicable for project reporting where moderate to high certainty is required. 
  • Ex-Ante Carbon Balance (EX-ACT) tool: Spreadsheet-based tool suitable for ex ante estimates of SOC change. Available in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia/Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish

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