Best practices in sustainable land management
Examples from the SPI report
In 2017, UNCCD’s Science Policy Interface (SPI) published a report showcasing several dozen examples of individual sustainable land management (SLM) best practices selected from scientific journal articles, research papers and SLM databases (including WOCAT). This information is categorised by land use type and technology group.
The WOCAT global database on SLM
The WOCAT database is one of the largest SLM global databases. The database contains more than 2,180 SLM practices from 130 countries, in twelve different languages, including best practices reported by UNCCD Parties.
Best practice examples
The Riaan Dames Grazing Strategy, otherwise known as Split-Ranch Grazing (SRG), is a fundamentally-different technology to grazing management in comparison with popular rotational grazing management systems in many western countries. SRG provides a full-year uninterrupted recovery period for rangeland after grazing. A full year’s rest for the paddock allows maximum uptake of nutrients and maximum storage of these nutrients in deep, strong root systems and crowns, and ensures sustainability. Livestock are maintained in the paddocks planned for grazing until the mid-dry season to ensure that grasses in the rested paddocks have completed root growth. Note: For this SLM technology case, the SPI report on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change refers to: Rothauge, A. 2001. An evaluation of open rotational grazing. Agricola,12, 94-98.
Eco-graze is a grazing management system that involves rotation and resting of paddocks. It is based on the establishment of three paddocks with two herds within a rotational system, where all paddocks get some wet season rest two years out of three. Paddocks are sub-divided into three relatively equal sizes, though some flexibility is required to balance variation in the productive capacity of different land types within the paddock. The paddocks are fenced and extra water points, additional water troughs, and (where required) pumps are established. Note: For this SLM technology case, the SPI report on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change refers to: Ash, A. et al. 1992. The Ecograze Project - developing guidelines to better manage grazing country. CSIRO. ISBN 0-9579842-0-0
Restoring degraded pastureland with alfalfa, a fast-growing plant, and putting the area under quarantine for three years to allow for the pasture to restore sufficiently, which requires the agreement of community members. The restoration measures include levelling the soil with a rack to soften the soil and prepare the seedbed. Fertilizer (mineral or organic) applied and the area is protected from grazing during the three years. During this quarantine period the alfalfa has to grow sufficiently in order to be harvested for livestock fodder, although it may be possible to harvest some areas earlier. Note: For this SLM technology case, the SPI report on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change refers to: Sghaier, M., et al. Context of oum zessar watershed Tunisia. Afromaison project. In: Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel.
The daily combining of livestock from all households into a single herd, which are moved to different designated portions of the communal grazing area, and allows grass to recover before being re-grazed some months later. The technology aims to replace continuous, open grazing with a planned system to prepare the soil and grass for the forthcoming rainy season, and is particularly effective in areas with no fences and high incidence of stock theft and predator losses. Fixed stocking rates based on carrying capacities are replaced by flexible stocking rates which track availability of forage. Two grazing plans are developed for one year; one when perennial grasses are growing and the other when they are dormant, but plans may change and must take into account the factors that affect livestock performance and the capacity of the livestock owner. Note: For this SLM technology case, the SPI report on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change refers to: Tinoziva, H., et al. 2013. Influence of Communal Area Grazing Management System on the Nutritive Value of Forages Selected by Cattle in a Semi-Arid area of Zimbabwe. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3 (9), 663-668.