Community Innovations in Sustainable Land Management: Lessons from the field in Africa, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Community Innovations in Sustainable Land Management

Lessons from the field in Africa, 1st Edition

Edited by Maxwell Mudhara, Saa Dittoh, Mohamed Sessay, William Critchley, Sabina Di Prima


223 pages | 71 B/W Illus.

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It is increasingly recognized that land can be managed most sustainably through involving local communities. This book highlights the potential of a new methodology of uncovering and stimulating community initiatives in sustainable land management in Africa.

Analyses of four contrasting African countries (Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and Uganda) show that as communities directly face the challenges of land degradation, they are likely to develop initiatives themselves in terms of sustainable land management. These initiatives (or ‘innovations’) may be more appropriate and sustainable than those emanating from research stations located far from the communities. The book describes the rationale of the approach used, the set of steps followed, how the project managed to engage the communities to understand the importance of the activities they were undertaking, and how they were stimulated to improve and extend their initiatives and innovativeness.

Examples covered include soil fertility, community forestry, afforestation, water, invasive species and grazing land management. Central to the book is the way communities, and scientists, interacted between the four countries and learnt from each other. The book also shows how the initiatives were outscaled locally.


"This book serves as an important inventory and source of knowledge about the new approach needed to tackle some of the challenges facing human kind in the present era. The book will be relevant for a very long time as a lesson to scholars and a reference for policy makers." – from the foreword by Albert T. Modi, Dean and Head of School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

"… to many people the concepts of ‘community innovations’ and ‘indigenous knowledge’ are vague and often confused. Few people understand what community innovation is and how it can be supported and expanded to promote sustainable initiatives. This book, which outlines the origin, theory behind, and practice of an approach termed Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management (SCI-SLM) tackles this uncertainty head on and provides practical examples, tools and frameworks to support and expand such innovations… The case studies show that research on community innovations can be time-consuming, complicated and difficult as it often entails complex social, technical and political aspects. However, the lessons learnt and the experiences outlined by the project teams in the four countries (which are highlighted in the final chapter) can be used to help communities and researchers make innovations happen." - Terry Everson in African Journal of Range & Forage Science (2017).

Table of Contents

1. Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management (SCI-SLM): An Introduction

William Critchley, Maxwell Mudhara and MohamedSessay

2. Local Innovation: Theory, Experience and the Basis for SCI-SLM

William Critchley and Sabina Di Prima

3. SCI-SLM Methodology: Origins of the Design

Sabina Di Prima and William Critchley

4. SCI-SLM: Innovation Begins at Programme Level

Maxwell Mudhara and Mohamed Sessay

5. Community Innovations in Sustainable Land Management: Lessons from Northern Ghana

Saa Dittoh , Conrad A. Weobong, Margaret A. Akuriba and Cuthbert Kaba Nabilse

6. Community Initiatives for Sustainable Natural Resource Management in the High Atlas, Morocco

M. Mahdi, Z. Tijani, M. Tami, and W. Tuyp

7. Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management in South Africa

Avrashka Sahadeva, Maxwell Mudhara Michael Malinga, and Zanele Shezi

8. Community Initiatives for Improving Degraded Ecosystems in Uganda

Stephen Muwaya, Richard Molo, John Ssendawula, Swidiq Mugerwa, Alex Lwakuba and Sabina Di Prima

9. Cross-learning with Community Initiatives

Wendelien Tuijp, Saa Dittoh, Mohamed Mahdi and Maxwell Mudhara

10. Contributing to Global Environmental Benefits

Saa Dittoh, Maxwell Mudhara and Conrad Weobong with Stephen Muwaya and Mohammed Mahdi

11. SCI-SLM Methodology: Refinement of the Original Design

Sabina Di Prima, William Critchley, and Eva van de Ven

12. Lessons Learned and Conclusions

William Critchley, Sabina Di Prima, Maxwell Mudhara and Saa Dittoh

About the Editors

Maxwell Mudhara lectures at the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences and is Director of the Farmer Support Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

William Critchleyis a Director of Sustainable Land Management Associates Ltd, UK and former Senior Advisor at the Sustainable Land Management Thematic Unit, Centre for International Cooperation, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Sabina Di Primais a Sustainable Land Management Specialist at the Centre for International Cooperation, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Saa Dittohteaches in the Department of Climate Change and Food Security, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana and was formerly Head of the University's Food and Nutrition Security Unit.

Mohamed F. Sessay is a Senior Programme Officer with the Biodiversity Unit of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya. He was Chief of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biodiversity/Land Degradation/Biosafety Unit in DEPI, UNEP until his retirement in March 2015.

About the Series

Earthscan Studies in Natural Resource Management

Earthscan Studies in Natural Resource Management
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to natural resource management, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Tropical Agriculture