Sustainable Land Management in Practice


Land Management in Practice

Guidelines and Best Practices
for Sub-Saharan Africa

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Rome 2011


Production of guidelines for best sustainable land management (SLM) technologies and approaches in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) has been part of TerrAfrica’s programme during 2009-2010. These guidelines and case studies are intended to help create a framework for investment related to SLM in SSA. The particular aim of these guidelines is to identify, analyse, discuss and disseminate promising SLM practices - including both technologies and approaches - in the light of the latest trends and new opportunities. The focus is, in particular, on those practices with rapid payback and profitability and / or other factors that drive adoption.

This document is targeted at key stakeholders in SLM programmes and projects at the design and implementation stages, including practitioners, managers, policymakers, planners, together with, financial and technical institutions, and donors. The guidelines are divided into two main parts. Part 1 highlights the main principles behind SLM, and what considerations are important for technologies and approaches to qualify as ‘best practices’ suitable for upscaling. Part 2 presents twelve groups of SLM technologies as well as a section on SLM approaches. These are supported by specific case studies. Key resource persons and experts on SLM in SSA were asked to assist in finalising the SLM gr oups and to describe specific case studies. This strives to be a ‘state of the art’ product.


Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary

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Part 1: Guiding principles


Setting the frame
Aims and audience
Structure and sources
Focus on Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus on Sustainable Land Management

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Principles for best SLM practices

Increased land productivity

Water use efficiency
Soil fertility
Plants and their management

Improved livelihoods

Costs and benefits
Input challenges for land users

Improved ecosystems: being environmentally friendly

Prevent, mitigate and rehabilitate land degradation
Improve biodiversity
Climate change: a fresh challenge – a new opportunity?

Triple-win solutions

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Adoption and decision support for upscaling best practices

Adoption - uptake and spread

Institutional and policy framework
Participation and land use planning
Promotion and extension
Monitoring, assessment and research

Decision support - upscaling SLM

Knowledge management: building the basis
Selection and fine-tuning of SLM practices
Selection of priority areas for interventions

Conclusions for adoption and decision support

The way forward

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Part 2: Best SLM practices for Sub-Saharan Africa

Overview of SLM practices
SLM technology groups and case studies

Integrated Soil Fertility Management
Conservation Agriculture
Rainwater Harvesting
Smallholder Irrigation Management
Cross-Slope Barriers
Integrated Crop-Livestock Management
Pastoralism and Rangeland Management
Sustainable Planted Forest Management
Sustainable Forest Management in Drylands
Sustainable Rainforest Management
Trends and New Opportunities

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SLM Approaches and case studies

SLM Approaches

Annex: Best SLM practices compared

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© FAO 2011