Mapping the unknown? The Extent of Sustainable Land Management

Godert van Lynden (2006)

Global investments in soil and water conservation (SWC) have been huge in the past century, yet a clear overview of their extent and effectiveness is lacking. Information on past experiences is scattered and therefore hardly benefiting new SWC activities. Since 1992 the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) programme is filling in this gap by using a standardised methodology to document and evaluate case studies of SWC worldwide and assess their spatial extent. SWC in this context should be interpreted broadly synonymously with sustainable land management (SLM). An Overview Book (“Where the land is greener”) will be launched in May 2006, presenting about 40 case studies from around the world (see paper by Liniger et al. this conference). While maps of soil and land degradation exist at national or regional level – the only global overview so far remains the GLASOD map by ISRIC and UNEP from 1991 - yet maps on the extent of soil and water conservation or sustainable land management seems to be almost completely lacking. It is amazing that policy makers and implementing institutions do not and cannot have a good spatial overview of their and others’ past and ongoing activities.


Mapping the unknown