United Nations Environment Programme

environment for development

Division of Global Environment Facility Coordination

Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA)

    
 Land Degradation in Argentina 2008 , Photo:R-Biancalani

Project Summary

LADA develops tools and methods to assess and quantify the nature, extent, severity and impacts of land degradation on dryland ecosystems, watersheds and river basins, carbon storage and biological diversity at a range of spatial and temporal scales. It also builds the national, regional and international capacity to analyze, design, plan and implement interventions to mitigate land degradation and establish sustainable land use and management practices.

To achieve these objectives, LADA is developing standardized and improved methods for dryland degradation assessment, with guidelines for their implementation in a range of scales. Using these methods, it assesses the regional and global baseline condition of land degradation with the view to highlighting the areas at greatest risk. These assessments are supplemented by detailed local assessments focusing on root cause analysis of land degradation and on local (traditional and adapted) technologies for the mitigation of land degradation. Areas where land degradation is well controlled are included in the analysis. ‘Best practice’ guidelines are being developed and the results widely disseminated in various media. The project is intended to make an innovative generic contribution to methodologies and monitoring systems for land degradation, supplemented by empirically-derived lessons from the six main partner countries involved in the project – Argentina, China, Cuba, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia – up-scaled to countries within their regional remit.

 

Projects Objectives

The global environmental goal of LADA is the conservation and sustainable use of the essential and globally-important ecosystems and land resources in the world’s drylands, consisting of all arid and semi-arid areas. This objective strongly and fundamentally crosscuts the catalyzation of adoption of comprehensive ecosystem management interventions, through the better application of land degradation information. It also crosscuts the mitigation of the causes and negative impacts of land degradation on the structure and functional integrity of ecosystems. The mutually supportive global environmental objectives of the project are an essential feature, on the grounds that dryland ecosystems cannot be protected without attention to ecosystem function and land degradation control. For areas of land use, the entry point has to be attention to land degradation, and without knowledge on the extent and impact of land degradation, biodiversity could not be protected.

The first project objective is to develop and implement strategies, methods and tools to assess, quantify and analyse the nature, extent, severity and impacts of land degradation on ecosystems, watersheds and river basins, and carbon storage in drylands at a range of spatial and temporal scales. The second is to build national, regional and global assessment capacities to enable the design, planning and implementation of interventions to mitigate land degradation and establish sustainable land use and management practices.

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