A Handbook for the Field Assessment of Land Degradation  book cover
1st Edition

A Handbook for the Field Assessment of Land Degradation

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ISBN 9781853838316
Published August 1, 2001 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

With the increasing concern over rural livelihoods and the food security of poor communities in developing countries, it is vital that land quality is maintained. Yet, land degradation is widespread and is lowering the productive capacity of the land in these countries. This practical handbook presents simple, non-technical indicators for assessing land degradation in the field. Based on the perspective of the farmer, the methods selected lend meaning to real farming situations, helping the field professional to understand not only the impact of degradation but also the benefits to be gained from reversing it. The handbook shows how to calculate indicators such as those of soil loss, explains the interpretation of results and in particular how combinations of different indicators can give conclusive evidence of the severity of land degradation. The focus of the book is firmly on understanding the farmer‘s interaction with the land, and how environmental protection, food security and the well-being of rural land users may be assured. With detailed figures, photographs, worked examples and sample forms based on assessment techniques validated by field professionals in Africa, Asia and Latin America, this will be an essential training manual will be invaluable for field-workers in NGOs and in governmental and educational institutions. It will also be of interest to researchers and academics in development, environment and agriculture.

Table of Contents

Preface * Acknowledgements * List of Acronyms and Abbreviations * Gaining a Farmer-perspective on Land Degradation * What is Land Degradation? * What About the Land User? * Indicators of Soil Loss * Indicators of Production Constraints * Combining Indicators * Consequences of Land Degradation for Land Users * The Benefits of Conservation * Appendix I: Visual Indicators of Land Degradation * Appendix II: Forms for Field Measurements * Appendix III: Glossary - Terms Closely Related to Assessment of Land Degradation * Appendix IV: Annotated Bibliography * Appendix V: Major Tropical Soils and their Susceptibility to Land Degradation * Appendix VI: Investment Appraisal * Appendix VII: Suggested Outline for a Two Week Training Workshop in Land Degradation Field Assessment * Notes * Index

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Michael Stocking is Professor of Natural Resource Development in the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Niamh Murnaghan is a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Group at the University of East Anglia


'A hands-on book for field use.' World Association of Soil and Water Conservation Newsletter '[An] excellent, practical guide.' Natural Recourses Forum (A United Nations Journal) 'This is a comprehensive and accessible approach to the subject.' Ecology and Environment Management in Practice 'The authors have identified and successfully plugged a gap in the land degradation literature.' Land Degradation and Development Written in a clear, engaging style, this handbook is likely to remain in valued use for many years to come.' Natural Recourses Forum (A United Nations Journal) 'This manual will be invaluable for all those who work with natural resources.' Appropriate Technology