Knowledge for Development

Relevant publications

Sustainable Land Management in Practice - Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa

This book on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) is a TerrAfrica publication which has been prepared by WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technology) and coordinated by the FAO. The book highlights the main principles of SLM, describes criteria for adoption and upscaling of SLM, provides a basis for informed decision-making, offers a framework for investment in SLM on the ground, identifies, analyses and disseminates best practices for improved productivity, livelihoods and ecosystem services, addresses SLM planners and implementers, and offers a framework for investment in SLM on the ground. It is illustrated with 47 case studies from 18 countries. (Available in French)


Thematic dossier from the CSFD on dryland pastoralism

The latest thematic dossier of the French science committee on desertification (CSFD) focuses on pastoral systems in sub-Saharan Africa, their relevance, their many roles, threats to them, as well as interactions between pastoralism and natural resources. It also questions the conditions for sustainable pastoralism.


Wick irrigation for tree establishment

Small farmers around the world urgently need to increase water use efficiency. Despite the need for low cost, simple, improved irrigation systems that could increase yields, scientific research and international development programmes have largely neglected this challenge. This is primarily due to the lack of money in these resource-limited communities. Even with increased water use efficiency, many farmers will still struggle to meet their basic food needs. Deep pipe, buried clay pot and other traditional systems work well but are often too expensive. Wick irrigation is a low cost alternative that may help many of these small farmers. A wettable fabric or rope is used to carry water from a reservoir or pipe to the roots of the plant. In its simplest form it can be done with rags and recycled bottles at almost no cost. The wicks help move the water further from the clay pot to encourage greater root development. Subsequent tests and research have demonstrated the value of wicks for irrigation even in very severe environments. These wicks can be gravity flow down (fast), capillary flow up (slow), or a hybrid.(The Overstory, 17/9/2012)


Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa

This book by William Critchley (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and John Gowing (Newcastle University, UK), published November 2012, reviews the state of the art of water harvesting for crop production and other uses in Sub-Saharan Africa. It defines water harvesting as a set of approaches which occupy an intermediate position along the water-management spectrum extending from in situ moisture conservation to irrigated agriculture. It includes an assessment of water harvesting schemes that were initiated two or three decades ago when interest was stimulated by the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. These events provide lessons to promote sustainable development of dryland agriculture in the face of changing environmental conditions. Case studies from eight countries across Sub-Saharan Africa provide the evidence base, with a focus on attempts to promote adoption of water harvesting, both horizontally (spread) and vertically (institutionalization).


Managing drought risk in a changing climate: The role of national drought policy

In this open-access article in Weather and Climate Extremes, Donald A. Wilhite, at the School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, USA, and colleagues address the growing worldwide concern about the ineffectiveness of current drought management practices. Most in-country policy and practices related to drought management are based on the principles of crisis management, resulting in the ‘reactive’ treatment of the ‘symptoms’ of drought. The authors argue that a comprehensive drought management plan must address the causes for the vulnerabilities associated with this type of extreme climatic event. They further show that through the adoption of national drought policies that are focused on risk reduction and complemented by drought mitigation or preparedness plans at various levels of government, the coping capacity of nations to manage droughts can be improved. In their paper they discuss the underlying concepts of drought, the principles and objectives of national drought policies and a drought planning process that has been effective in the preparation of drought mitigation plans.   (Weather and Climate Extreme, 18/03/2014)