Press Release | Making Sense of Research – Research for Practical Application in Land Management

Application-focused book with the findings of international research on sustainable land management presented at the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, twelve million hectares of fertile, arable land is lost each and every year. Soils are suffering from aridization, salination and overuse. This means that the loss of soil fertility is one of the central challenges to society with regard to the management of natural resources. Solutions for more sustainable land use that not only takes into account the environment and existing ecosystems worldwide but also aspects of climate change are presented in the book “Making Sense of Research for Sustainable Land Management”. It is published by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern.

The book outlines land management practices that have been tested by researchers in twelve projects around the world within the scope of the "Sustainable Land Management" research programme. The programme was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a seven-year period. The investigations involved related to the interaction between land use, climate change, loss of biodiversity, population growth, globalisation and urbanisation. The focus was placed on regions particularly exposed to global and local change such as climate change or fluctuations on the global market. These regions include steppes in Russia, tropical rainforests in Brazil, the landscape along the North and Baltic Sea coasts and forest and river landscapes in China and Vietnam. Some of the most serious effects are the loss of biodiversity, rapid deforestation with the associated soil erosion or flooding, and salination.

The examples seen in practice are as diverse as they are specific to each individual place. They include ecological engineering in rice farming in the Philippines, more sustainable cotton production in China, the deployment of non-tillage farming on large-scale farms in Siberia, coastal area management in northern Germany, improved subsistence farming in Madagascar, integrated management of river catchment areas and reservoirs used for hydropower and irrigation in Brazil and Vietnam, and as integrated land and water management concepts in the Okavango catchment area in Africa.

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Picture: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth