Opportunities and challenges in assessing and combating land degradation.

Verdoodt A;, Moussandek R;, Mureithi SM;, Vermang, J.; Ye L. "Opportunities and challenges in assessing and combating land degradation.".; 2012.


Technology development for assessing and combating land degradation faces various challenges, both
in high and low income countries. This paper aims to highlight knowledge gaps on spatio-temporal
soil functioning and on efficiency of soil conservation measures: (1) “What are current challenges
related to assessing land degradation?”, (2) “What do we know about the impact of land degradation
on food security?”, and (3) “What is the efficiency of conservation measures?”. The discussion
encompasses soil degradation at field plot to continental scale, as well as bottlenecks relevant to both
low and high-income countries. Key issues identified within each theme are illustrated using a number
of case studies. They illustrate the need for innovative approaches to systematic assessments of the
dynamic nature of soil functioning and degradation, of the impact of soil degradation on various
ecosystem services, to support the identification and design of suitable soil management, soil
conservation or soil improvement measures. Experimental trials and process-based models reflecting
ecosystem functioning, though highly time and data demanding, are still needed to pursue better local
insights and feed process-based land degradation models applied at watershed scale.


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