Land Use Management

 

Sustainable management of land resources underpins the achievement of sustainable livelihoods and income generation for Pacific Islanders. Land resources are a source of food, shelter and economic development. Managing land resources sustainably is crucial to ensuring they continue to provide important ecosystem services such as watershed protection, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration.  

Land Use Management
Thursday, 25 February 2010 08:57
Sustainable management of land resources underpins the achievement of sustainable livelihoods and income generation for Pacific Islanders. Land resources are a source of food, shelter and economic development. Managing land resources sustainably is crucial to ensuring they continue to provide important ecosystem services such as watershed protection, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration.

Climate change, pressures from increasing population and unsustainable land use practices such as burning have led to increasing land degradation in the region and a reduction in the ecosystem services our land provides. Land use change and degradation can also often have knock-on effects to the surrounding marine environment.

Land is also integral to the identify of Pacific Islanders as guardians of the land for future generations and plays an important role in cultural, social and political relationships. Land disputes can lead to conflict, and strengthening land management systems has been recognised as a priority for leaders in their Niue Declaration (2008).

Pacific islanders rely heavily on their land and marine resources as many still depend to some degree on the subsistence economy. Due to the relatively small size of the islands, any disturbances to the land can also affect the surrounding marine environment and ultimately on livelihoods of families and communities.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) have identified sound land-use policies and practices, and improvements in soil management, as pivotal requirements in promoting sustainable management of land resources and ensuring that land is allocated to maximise sustainable benefits. Smaller PICTs, especially atolls, face particular difficulties in improving their soils and managing water resources for agriculture and food security.
 
Land Use Planning is becoming increasingly important in the Pacific. If demographic trends continue there will be increasingly urgent need to match land systems, soil types and land uses in the most rational way possible, to optimize sustainable resource development and management to meet the needs of society.

A participatory 'bottom up' planning process should begin at the local level utilizing fully the experience and local knowledge of landowners and users to identify priorities and to draw up and implement plans.

Some guidelines which need to be adapted to the local context are available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/T0715E/t0715e00.htm