Main Points from the "Public Lecture"
Northern Namibia faces great challenges in sustaining and increasing agricultural production due to widespread soil and vegetation degradation.
Degradation does not appear to be as widespread as in other semi-arid areas of the world, such as the southwestern United States, but it is increasing.
Experiences in the United States indicate that irreversible degradation can occur in as little as a few decades.
Some lands are more productive, and more vulnerable than others.
If these lands can be reliably identified, management can be targeted to increase sustainability.
Both scientific and local knowledge are needed to support sustainable land management.
Namibia is fortunate to have both excellent universities and other experts with strong scientific knowledge, and farmers who have a tremendous amount of local knowledge.
A ‘Land Potential Knowledge System’ (LKPS) is needed to collect, integrate, synthesize and make available knowledge on the land’s potential to produce, and resist degradation.
This system would help farmers choose sustainable land management systems, and development organizations to target their work where it will have the greatest impact, and to avoid investments leading to unintended consequences.
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USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range
Las Cruces, NM USA
Local contact (until Friday 25 May): 081 840 7081