An expansive land management policy is overdue

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Environment and ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Land degradation, Issue: Land Management Practices

Land management:

  • Land is central to all human activities yet its multidimensional character is ignored in land management practices.
  • This leads excessive stress, land degradation, and environmental draw down.

Challenge of land management in India

  • High population density (2.4% of the world’s area 17% of the global population)
  • Large degraded land (around 30 %) (Arable land-55%, forestland -22%).
  • Access to agricultural land is an important livelihood issue.
  • Pressure on land due to
    • Land demand of growing population,
    • infrastructure,
    • rapid urbanization,
    • social, cultural, and environmental aspects
  • Competition and conflicts over land use – increase in land prices and changing land rights.
  • Challenges in adopting good land management practice
    • Knowledge gaps,
    • a short-term planning bias,
    • a fragmented approach,
    • lack of action for unforeseen events, and regulatory barriers.

Suggestions:

  • Establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms at district and sub-district levels (by using constitutional provision under Article 243ZD)
  • A landscape approach:
    • to assess the potential of land
    • the scope of allocation
    • reallocation of land for appropriate uses.
  • Follow global approach-
  • European Landscape Convention– landscape is a key element of individual and social well-being
  • K. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology- highlighted the importance of sustainable land management in its brief.

+1 Advantage:

·    Globally, the annual losses of ecosystem services due to land degradation is estimated at $6 trillion.

·    The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) (New Delhi in 2019)

Ø  Discussed the problem of land degradation experienced by different countries and the ways of achieving land degradation neutrality.

·   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on ‘Climate Change and Land’ (2019)

Ø  Suggested country-level stocktaking of land management practices.

Ø  Proposed several near- and long-term actions that reduce competition for land with co-benefits and minimum negative impacts on key ecosystem services.

·   The Food and Agriculture Organization report, ‘State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: The System at Breaking Point’ (2021),

Ø  A sense of urgency needs to prevail over a hitherto neglected area of public policy and human welfare— that of caring for the long-term future of land, soil, and water.

 

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