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Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources

This book comprehensively describes the major ecosystem services in dryland environments that are provided by typical land use, including forestland, grassland and farmland, using the Loess Plateau, Northwest China as an example. It offers extensive information on land policy, implementation and scientific evidence, and discusses the restoration of the degraded Loess Plateau environment, which brings new challenges in the sustainable use of natural resources, in particular soil and water.

It presents a transdisciplinary and up-to-date understanding of interlinkages and competition between different ecosystem services and illustrates benefit sharing among different users and stakeholders, land- management practitioners and local governments. It is a major contribution to the on-going debate on future land-development strategies and identifies areas where there is a need for more research. This book is a valuable resource for students, scientists and policy makers.

Siloed and sectored management practices have contributed to the minimisation of soil erosion in dryland China thanks to soil conservation efforts for decades, but they have also led to other environmental problems such as water shortage. This further aggravates conflicts and competition between water users, for instance, between upstream and downstream users, rural and urban areas, and agriculture and forestry. This increases socioeconomic pressure and undermines regional sustainability. Such vicious circle of ‘solutions to one problem leading to a new problem’ has to be broken by shifting a single-resource/sector-oriented land system to a multifunctional land-use system.

Multifunctional land use is an all-encompassing system that is coordinated and integrated across sectors in a balanced environmental and social setting, and resulting in benefits for both environment and society. Despite decades of looking for solutions and advances in the development of multifunctional land-use systems, several issues still discourage and impede their implementation. Our work reviews the progress made in science and practice, as well as the challenges to implementation, using the Loess Plateau in China as an example. In this context, research needs are identified and suggestions are made for realising multifunctionality in an ecological system.(Zhang, Lulu, Schwärzel, Kai)

Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources