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close this bookBioenergy Primer: Modernised Biomass Energy for Sustainable Development (UNDP, 2000, 153 p.)
close this folderChapter 4. Environmental Issues
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1. Soil Quality and Fertility
View the document4.2. Biodiversity
View the document4.3. Energy Balances
View the document4.4. Carbon Emissions
View the document4.5. Hydrology
View the document4.6. Chemical Loading of Soil and Ground/Surface Water
View the document4.7. Restoring Degraded Land
View the document4.8. Environmental Indicators for Evaluating a Project
View the documentReferences for Chapters 3 and 4

4.7. Restoring Degraded Land

Tremendous benefit could result from integrating biomass production with restoration of degraded lands. Optimal restoration strategies are extremely site-specific and depend on a large number of factors.

These include the availability of water and light, susceptibility to wind and water erosion, soil characteristics (fertility, organic content, pH, soil type, temperature, salinity, waterlogging), altitude and climate, susceptibility to pests and overgrazing, and concurrent land uses (such as grazing, fuelwood harvesting, and shifting agriculture).

Farmers have experimented with and adapted many land-restoration strategies. Box 4-1 presents some of the many options available, but no specific recommendations are given here, since specific strategies vary dramatically from situation to situation. Table 4.4 provides some examples of tree species that are well-suited to particular types of adverse situations.

If the degraded land is currently meeting a need for grazing, fuelwood gathering, shifting agriculture, etc., then restoring the degraded land should involve finding suitable alternatives that are identified and designed in a participatory manner.

In selecting approaches, it is critical to understand the pre-existing uses of the land. If the degraded land is currently meeting a need for grazing, fuelwood gathering, shifting agriculture, etc., then restoring the degraded land should involve finding suitable alternatives that are identified and designed in a participatory manner. This is the only way successfully to undertake a land-restoration project that will involve and benefit the local communities.