Soil governance and land degradation neutrality

Elsevier, Soil Security, Volume 6, March 2022
Hannam I.

This chapter on soil governance and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) highlights the complexities of soil and land degradation and of achieving LDN itself. The LDN concept has been developed to encourage implementation of an optimal mix of measures designed to avoid, reduce and/or reverse land degradation in order to achieve a state of no net loss of healthy and productive land. Through its introduction in the global dialogue to stimulate a more effective policy response to land degradation, under the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, and the United Nation's Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2015, LDN is embedding an important place for soil governance in this goal. Moreover, it is the underlying scientific processes and principles that provide a sound basis to understand and implement LDN, and its practical guidance for pursuing and monitoring progress towards LDN targets. Legislative provisions should enable participation of all stakeholders in the development of policy, guidelines, and ecological standards for LDN and to enable governments, landowners and land managers, and the community to share responsibility for land degradation management. However, this chapter argues that reform is essential. This includes procedures for policy implementation, development of special codes of practice, land management indicators, and the physical and ecological limits of soil and land. Good soil governance is an essential aspect of achieving LDN particularly if the supporting, regulating, and cultural services provided by soil are maintained or enhanced without significantly impairing either the soil functions that enable those services or its ecosystem functions to continue.