Failure to manage land resources in an integrated manner could lead to: (a) permanent destruction or degradation of the land's capability to provide economic and environmental benefits; (b) inefficient use or waste of resources: and (c) cumulative effects that lead to trans-boundary problems.
Because land serves multiple functions in society, there are diverse social, economic, and environmental considerations that influence current and future land uses. Examining the potential uses of land in a systematic manner makes it possible to improve social and economic development, while simultaneously protecting and enhancing the environment. A fundamental goal of integrated land management is to use science and technology to prevent degradation of the land's capacity to support human activities, and particularly the production of food.
Modern science and technology play a most important role in integrated land management through the use of: (a) advances in information technology to monitor and diagnose land uses; (b) evaluation technologies for interpretation and the identification of options for land use; (c) application technologies to use the land for specific purposes; and (d) supporting technologies for the provision of the infrastructure that allows for the efficient and sustainable use of land. However, one of the limitations is that the various technologies which can contribute to integrated land management and which have been developed in each of these areas are not available in the developing countries where they are most needed.
There are four major barriers to effective global application of integrated land management methods are identified. These include: (a) limited access to appropriate technology and information; (b) lack of appropriate infrastructure to use science and technology effectively; (c) problems emanating from unsustainable land use practices; and (d) unresolved conflicts between different land use goals. Elimination of these barriers requires approaches specific to each country. Four approaches are useful for effective implementation of integrated land management: (a) pooling resources among countries with common interests through intra- and intergovernmental cooperation; (b) private/public partnerships in the area of credit provision, and research and development efforts; (c) targeted training and technology support programmes; and (d) direct public investment in resource protection, for example by building dykes and canals to prevent erosion and by planting trees to prevent wind erosion and desertification.