Why Is Land Management Important? 

Sustainable agriculture is the process of farming without depleting or damaging the environment. It meets society’s need for food and textiles without compromising future generations’ access to these resources. This type of agriculture also maintains ecosystem services, which are the relationship between living organisms and their environment. In this way, it can help conserve natural resources and promote sustainable development. 

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Impact Programs combat land degradation and deforestation 

GEF Impact Programs are one of the major components of GEF delivery and are targeted at combating land degradation and deforestation. The FOLUR Impact Program, for example, provides an integrated approach to sustainable land management, thereby improving prospects for food security for smallholders and communities. The Sustainable Forest Management Impact Program aims to minimize the deforestation of drylands, and the Sustainable Cities Impact Program will enable the integration of voluntary LDN targets in urban planning. 

Land degradation and deforestation have severe economic, environmental, and social impacts. It can reduce the productivity of land and lead to increased extreme weather events. Recent estimates indicate that the combined effects of land degradation and climate change could reduce global crop yields by up to 10% and 50% by 2050. Land degradation also impacts communities, particularly women and youth, who depend on natural resources for subsistence and income. 

Restoration of productive landscapes 

Whether in the form of restoring native habitats or creating diverse agricultural landscapes, restoring productive landscapes is an important aspect of land use management. In addition to addressing the issues of soil erosion and water security, restoring natural ecosystems can also contribute to multi-level sustainability goals. 

While there are many national agreements to restore degraded landscapes, more political will and leadership are needed to achieve global restoration goals. It is also important to engage people from diverse sectors to achieve the goal. 

Ecosystem services 

The United States has begun recognizing the importance of ecosystem services for land management. In 2008, the US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency released rules to better manage waterways, wetlands, and other natural resources. These rules recommend that mitigation projects be located where they can restore or replace lost ecosystem services. Additionally, in 2010 a meeting explored payments and markets for ecosystem services. These new policies are encouraging federal agencies to consider ecosystem services and other environmental factors in their decision-making. 

However, incorporating ecosystem services into management can be difficult and take a lot of time and effort. Although narrative descriptions are an option, they often are not enough for formal analysis. For this reason, agencies that want to use ecosystem services in their planning efforts need to demonstrate their value to justify the expense and time spent. It is crucial to conduct a wide range of case studies to determine which practices deliver the greatest value and which ones have the greatest potential for reducing costs. 

Prevention of environmental degradation 

Environmental degradation is a major concern, affecting 25 percent of the world’s land area. It has a negative impact on people’s livelihoods and affects water resources. Degradation is often caused by human activity, such as farming. It can also result in increased pollution and sedimentation of rivers and streams. This can result in a decrease in fish populations and worsen flooding. Sustainable land management can prevent these problems and help protect the land. 

Preventing environmental degradation through land management is an important goal for global sustainability, and there are many ways to make progress. One way to accomplish this goal is to sign up for international agreements and policies that address the problem. South Africa has signed several agreements and pledged to take action to protect its environment. This includes the Ramsar Convention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.