Managing land

Strengthening management of land resources
Ensuring sustainable development of land resources
Reducing unsustainable development of land resources
Offering adequate integrated land management
Providing sufficient integrated land management
This involves establishing and strengthening agricultural land-use and land-resource planning, management, education and information at national and local levels.
The essential role of land and water resources in supporting all current and future human activities makes it necessary to consider the management of land resources as one of the primary tools of sustainable human development. The proper method of managing land is through a holistic and integrated approach. An integrated approach to land management is not a fixed procedure, but rather a continuous, iterative process of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The basic techniques for carrying out each of these steps are already available, but their application in many parts of the world is limited by training, financial and institutional constraints.

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.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Land type/use
Sustainable development
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies