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Multifaceted Impacts of Sustainable Land Management in Drylands: A Review

Currently land degradation affects 25% of land, causing severe impacts to global food security, climate and human and environmental wellbeing. The urgent need to reverse this trends calls scientific and development communities to take action and promote a shift to more sustainable land management (SLM) practices.

Although many of the ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation interventions were successful in recovering the degraded environment, the effective upscaling and maintenance of sustainable practices is often hindered by several diverse factors such as poverty, weak policies, and insufficient knowledge exchange.  

Biophysical restoration or rehabilitation measures of land have demonstrated to be effective in many scientific projects and small-scale environmental experiments. However circumstances such as poverty, weak policies, or inefficient scientific knowledge transmission can hinder the effective upscaling of land restoration and the long term maintenance of proven sustainable use of soil and water. This may be especially worrisome in lands with harsh environmental conditions.

This review covers recent efforts in landscape restoration and rehabilitation with a functional perspective aiming to simultaneously achieve ecosystem sustainability, economic efficiency, and social wellbeing. Water management and rehabilitation of ecosystem services in croplands, rangelands, forests, and coastlands are reviewed.

The joint analysis of such diverse ecosystems provides a wide perspective to determine:

(i) multifaceted impacts on biophysical and socio-economic factors; and

(ii) elements influencing effective upscaling of sustainable land management practices.

One conclusion can be highlighted: voluntary adoption is based on different pillars, i.e. external material and economic support, and spread of success information at the local scale to demonstrate the multidimensional benefits of sustainable land management. For the successful upscaling of land management, more attention must be paid to the social system from the first involvement stage, up to the long term maintenance. Read more from "Multifaceted Impacts of Sustainable Land Management in Drylands: A Review"