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|Title:||The rewards of investing in sustainable land management|
|Other Titles:||Interim Report for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative: A global strategy for sustainable land management|
Thomas, Richard J.
|Keywords:||sustainable land management;land degradation;economics;total economic value;costs of inaction;benefits from action;costs of action;cost-benefit analysis;ecosystem services;alternative livelihoods;improved decision-making;capacity building;scaling up and out;private sector;knowledge gaps|
|Citation:||ELD Initiative (2013). The rewards of investing in sustainable land management. Interim Report for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative: A global strategy for sustainable land management. Available from: www.eld-initiative.org/|
|Abstract:||Executive summary In the face of global land degradation and its impacts on humanity and the environment, the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative is dedicated to raising global awareness of the full economic potential of land and land services including market and non-market values (e.g. carbon sequestration, recreational values, nutrient cycling, etc.) and the costs of land degradation. The ELD Initiative is focused on creating efficient and practical tools and methodologies to fully assess lands value and thus encourage sustainable land management. Valuing land and related ecosystem services is an urgent and necessary action in order to focus attention on land degradation as a serious global problem. Land’s economic value is chronically undervalued and commonly determined by immediate agricultural or forestry market values. This focus on short-term gain motivates the highest extraction rates possible from land, leading to unsustainable land management and degradation (the reduction or loss in biological or economic productivity). Between 10 – 20 % of drylands are degraded and 24 % of globally usable land on Earth is degraded at an estimated economic loss of USD 40 billion per year. This particularly affects the rural poor – those who depend directly upon the land for sustenance and income, and number over 1.2 billion. There are clear economic and environmental actions that can prevent and/or reverse land degradation. Further, the adoption of sustainable land management could deliver up to USD 1.4 trillion in increased crop production. Given the combined global trends of increasing population and decreasing land availability and quality, there is great incentive to increase productivity on parcels of land already in use and promote sustainable land management. The costs of taking action to prevent and/or reverse land degradation are usually less than the benefits that can be obtained for investing in and applying sustainable land management practices. The case studies reveal that even with an incomplete assessment of the total value of ecosystem services investments in land prove to be beneficial to society and the environment. Several existing options and pathways for action to address land degradation are available for successful change. These options range from adapting to biophysical conditions, to changing livelihood strategies. Examples include: reforestation, afforestation, the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices, and the establishment of alternative livelihoods such as eco-tourism. Economic instruments to reverse land degradation trends include: payments for ecosystem services, subsidies, taxes, voluntary payments for environmental conservation, and access to micro-finance and credit. In addition, facilitating change requires adaptations to legal, social, and policy-focused contexts that favour sustainable land management. The ELD Initiative will inform the private sector of the opportunities available for investment and will help close the gap between better land stewardship and business practices. The companies likely to be the most interested in efforts to prevent and/or reverse land degradation will be those that have more direct contact with land and thus be the most sensitive to land degradation. They will be found in resource-dependent sectors, such as the food and beverage, leisure and travel, and basic resource sectors. The ELD Initiative will provide total economic valuation methods that will aid decision-making in land investments and land use planning, especially under the various conditions of any country affected by land degradation. Three main outcomes of the ELD Initiative include: (i) a vigorous case study analysis of existing literature and research to analyse the global research status of ELD, separated into three working groups of: Data and Methodology, Scenarios, and Options and Pathways to action, (ii) the funding of further research that addresses identified gaps in knowledge, technology, policy, and community motivation, and (iii) the development of a series of reports summarizing final conclusions and guidelines, individually targeted at policy makers, scientific communities, the private sector and local administrators and practitioners. Outputs of the initiative will inform the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its proposal for a new Sustainable Development Goal for post-Rio+20 of zero net land degradation (defined as the achievement of a state of land degradation neutrality). African, Asian, and Central and South American countries need to build their capacity in assessing the value of land. Current case studies indicate that much of the work done on economic valuation in these areas has been done by the international scientific community without adequate involvement or capacity building within the studied countries. The ELD Initiative will incorporate capacity building activities into its projects to ensure that qualified personnel are available and present in affected countries. The ELD Initiative is uniquely posited to address economic issues surrounding degraded lands, as a collaborative, international collection of researchers and citizens committed to delivering comprehensible, transboundary, scientific, political, and technological guidelines rooted in peer-reviewed research and designed for on-the-ground, customizable applications. This interim report is a reflection of work that has been performed, synthesized, and analysed, hitherto, building on earlier studies and ELD contributions to the conclusions and recommendations of the UNCCD Second Scientific Conference.|
|Description:||The ELD Initiative is an international initiative for harmonisation of economic methods and approaches to build a stronger case for adoption of sustainable land management by reinforcing the existing technical case.|
|Appears in Collections:||Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH)|
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|ELD Initiative_2013 - The rewards of investing in sustainable land management Interim Report_Web-Version4.pdf||interim report||5.79 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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