LAND DEGRADATION AND CONSERVATION
Soils substantially contribute to the provision of Ecosystem Services, e.g. by offering a medium for plant (crop) growth, regulating water quantity and quality, sequestering carbon, maintaining a high biodiversity, buffering contaminating substances and supplying raw materials like sand or clay. Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human-induced processes acting upon the land.
Many techniques exist to prevent or combat land degradation. Commonly termed as Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices, they range from simple, cheap practices to quite sophisticated, expensive measures. However, technical solutions alone are not enough and their successful implementation also implies taking into consideration numerous social, economic, cultural and institutional issues.