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Keywords:

  • land degradation;
  • sustainable land management;
  • local and scientific knowledge;
  • policy;
  • international;
  • UNCCD

Abstract

For land degradation monitoring and assessment (M&A) to be accurate and for sustainable land management (SLM) to be effective, it is necessary to incorporate multiple knowledges using a variety of methods and scales, and this must include the (potentially conflicting) perspectives of those who use the land. This paper presents a hybrid methodological framework that builds on approaches developed by UN Food & Agriculture Organisation's land degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA), the World Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) programme and the Dryland Development Paradigm (DDP), and is being applied internationally through the EU-funded DESIRE project. The framework suggests that M&A should determine the progress of SLM towards meeting sustainability goals, with results continually and iteratively enhancing SLM decisions. The framework is divided into four generic themes: (i) establishing land degradation and SLM context and sustainability goals; (ii) identifying, evaluating and selecting SLM strategies; (iii) selecting land degradation and SLM indicators and (iv) applying SLM options and monitoring land degradation and progress towards sustainability goals. This approach incorporates multiple knowledge sources and types (including land manager perspectives) from local to national and international scales. In doing so, it aims to provide outputs for policy-makers and land managers that have the potential to enhance the sustainability of land management in drylands, from the field scale to the region, and to national and international levels. The paper draws on operational experience from across the DESIRE project to break the four themes into a series of methodological steps, and provides examples of the range of tools and methods that can be used to operationalise each of these steps. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.