Land & Water

Land Degradation Assessment in Dryland (LADA_Tools)

LADA is a scientifically-based approach to assessing and mapping land degradation at different spatial scales – small to large – and at various levels – local to global. LADA’s main objective is to identify and understand the causes of land degradation and the impacts of land use, in order to enable adequate and sustainable land management solutions to be devised. A key principle of LADA is that land use is the main driver of land degradation, rather than soil, terrain or climate. Initiated in drylands, the LADA methods and tools have been adapted for application in other environments as well.

LADA produced s specific assessment products and methods at three scales of operation: global, national and local.

At global level a Map of Land Use System (LUS) was developed with 5 arc-minute spatial resolution (9x 9 km at the equator).  The methodology consisted of delineating mapping units through overlaying,  after reclassification, of different thematic  spatial datasets, principally land cover (obtained from the Global Land Cover GLC-2000 dataset), spatial land use data (mainly crop dominance and cropping patterns obtained through Agro-Maps), livestock distribution data, and further characterization of the mapping units with ecosystem and ecological indicators (soils, terrain, climate) and limited socio-economic attributes (mainly population density). The same approach is advocated for developing national maps of land use systems, albeit with national datasets, which may not be available at international level.

At national level  LADA updated the Global Assessment of Human-Induced Soil Degradation (GLASOD) information through a Global Land Degradation Assessment (GLADA) based on an analysis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI) considering climatic variation, tested in six pilot countries (Argentina, China, Cuba, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia).  For these countries  national maps were developed of land degradation and SLM status at 5 arc-minute resolution, as well as comprehensive databases holding a large number of land degradation. For use at national level LADA also produced  the QM Manual, a questionnaire for mapping land degradation and sustainable land management.  The questionnaire is an evaluation tool for land degradation and the conservation activities undertaken in a country or provinces / regions within a country. For more details on the QM Manual, enter 'LADA QM' in the LRP free-text search box.

For local level assessment of land degradation and sustainable land management LADA produced a comprehensive manual. The focus is on human-induced land degradation, although natural degradation processes are also addressed. A short summary of this manual can be obtained by entering 'LADA LOC' in the LRP free-text search box.

LADA follows for both the national and local level assessments the DPSIR Framework. At all levels of operation LADA tools and approaches are principally designed towards biophysical assessment of land degradation. Socio-economic, cultural and institutional factors of land degradation are not treated in depth.

Source (link)
Global, Regional, National, Sub-national/Province/District, Locality/Farm/Site, Watershed/Basin/Landscape
Documentation/Manuals, Maps/GIS, Questionnaire/Survey
Global, Regional, National, Sub-national/ Province/ District, Locality/ Farm/ Site, Watershed/Basin/Landscape
Support tools
Assessment and mapping tools: Land, Soil, Crop, Water
Thematic areas
Land degradation
User Category
Technical specialist, Scientific advisor