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Overview PDF Print E-mail

L23_108.jpgLand degradation costs an estimated US$40 billion annually worldwide, without taking into account hidden costs of increased fertilizer use, loss of biodiversity and loss of unique landscapes.

The consequences of land degradation are reduced land productivity, socio-economic problems, including uncertainty in food security, migration, limited development and damage to ecosystems. Degraded land is costly to reclaim and, if severely degraded, may no longer provide a range of ecosystem functions and services with a loss of the goods and many other potential environmental, social, economic and non-material benefits that are critical for society and development.

The Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands project (LADA) started in 2006 with the general purpose of creating the basis for informed policy advice on land degradation at global, national and local level. This goal is to be realized through the assessment of land degradation at different spatial and temporal scales and the creation of a baseline at global level for future monitoring. The project will complete its activity by 2010.

Different kinds of actors are involved in the implementation: FAO and UNEP being the executing and the implementing agency respectively, while the Global Environment Fund (GEF) is the main donor of the project. International organizations, universities, research centres and other projects are among the other partners of the project. You can find a complete list here .

Six countries participate in the project with their national institutions: Argentina, China, Cuba, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia.

The project operates by using a variety of technologies, from satellite images to digital databases to soil and vegetation sampling. It takes into account both biophysical and socio-economic issues.

The project methodology is based on the assumption that human activities on the land are the main driver for causing land degradation. Hence, the definition and mapping of different Land Use Systems, is a basic activity for the implementation of the entire approach.

Given that land degradation is not a static concept, but rather a phenomenon that can be appreciated only as a change in the land's conditions, it is very important to take into consideration the relations of causes and effects that lead to degradation. In LADA, this is done through the application of the DPSIR framework. The application of the same conceptual framework at all levels of scale allows defining the connections between the indicators utilized at the different levels.

Great importance is given in LADA to the involvement of stakeholders at all levels. Participatory approaches, expert consultations and capacity building are the instruments used to that end.

At the same time, attention is given to the international cooperation in combating degradation. In this sense, the support to the establishment of regional land degradation training centres in the six countries is part of the project strategy, together with the links with the international environmental conventions, UNCCD, UNCBD and UNFCCC .

 

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