Ecosystems and NRM
Community-driven natural resource management helps restore degraded agricultural land and mitigate against the effects of climate and weather shocks.
Natural resources are threatened by increasing population, climate variability, and poor management, but are an essential part of reducing threats from flooding, tsunamis and storm surges, and drought. Well-managed natural resources also provide an important foundation for sustainable agricultural production by supporting soil health and reducing erosion. Recognizing the complexity of natural resource environments, new approaches are needed to address them in the context of a broader systems approach.
Evaluations show that devolved responsibility for managing natural resources and an agro-ecological approach that integrates natural resource management with agriculture called farmer-managed natural resource management (FMNR) can mitigate the effects of climate change and strengthen resilience.
These practices improve soil health and productivity, reduce malnutrition, diversify diets, strengthen capacities to cope with drought, reduce burdens on women for fuel wood gathering, reduce hunger and poverty, and mitigate climate change effects through carbon sequestration. The integration of natural resource management and local governance has especially strong impacts on women’s empowerment, which in turn helps build resilience.
Evidence from Niger and Senegal shows that FMNR and other community empowerment approaches to natural resource management have had positive impacts on land use and poverty reduction. In Niger, FMNR led to the restoration of 5 million hectares of landscape threatened by severe desertification into productive agroforestry land. In Senegal, partnerships between citizen working groups and local government to manage natural resource reduced poverty across 800,000 households involved in the project.