Land is a scarce resource in Pakistan where 80 percent of the land is arid or semi-arid. The majority of the rapidly growing population depends on dry lands to support their livelihoods through agro-pastoral activities.
Unsustainable land management practices and increased demand for natural resources are the main causes of land degradation and desertification. Other causes include deforestation, overgrazing, drought and floods. Unless unsustainable practices are addressed, land degradation will continue at an accelerated pace with adverse impacts on the structural and functional integrity of ecosystems, biodiversity and people’s livelihoods.
One solution to this problem is sustainable land management (SLM), the use of land resources such as soil, water, animals and plants for the production of goods, to meet changing human needs, while ensuring the long-term productive capacity of these resources and maintenance of their functions within the natural environment.
The SLM programme (Phase I) paved the way towards using a long-term programmatic and results-based approach to combatting desertification and land degradation over entire landscapes in Pakistan. In Phase II, this is being scaled up to ensure sustainable management of land and natural resources in arid and semi-arid regions so that ecosystem functionality and critical ecosystem services are enhanced.