Special Issue "Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Saskia Visser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Circular and climate-neutral society, Wageningen University and Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: sustainable land use; climate-smart land use; data revolution; healthy soils; fair and functional land use; environmental performance; carbon capture in soils
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jan De Leeuw
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ISRIC, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6708RC Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: geographical information systems; land degradation; land evaluation; remote sensing; land use
Ir. Margot De Cleen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat, Griffioenlaan 2, 3526LA Utrecht, The Netherlands
Interests: science policy interface; soil policy implementation; awareness raising and capacity building; soil as a resource; sustainable development goals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With this notification, we would like to invite you to submit your research to our Special Issue on Land Degradation Neutrality.

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals aimed to be the roadmap for society to move from the exploitation to the sustainable use of our planet’s resources and from inequality, poverty, and hunger to a proper education and good life for all. A robust soil–water system is essential to achieve most of those SDGs. In this Special Issue, we want to focus on SDG15.3, which is part of SDG 15, Life on Land, and aims at achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and land restoration. Ever since the SDGs were adopted by all UN members, it has been under discussion how to implement SDG 15.3. Although scientist and policymakers are still debating about the definition of Land Degradation, estimations show that 75% of the land worldwide is degraded. Therefore, urgent action is needed to find solutions that can be implemented on different levels of scale (global, national, regional, local) and at different institutional levels (implementation, governance, awareness building, financing), taking into account the stakeholders’ interests and culture and the availability of financial and natural capitals.

For this Special Issue, we invite papers addressing any of these topics:

  • LDN from a biophysical point of view:
    • Soil degradation and Land Degradation Neutrality target setting
    • Reviews on LDN processes
    • Soil- and land-related SDG indicators
    • Different scales of LDN implementation
    • Restoration versus halting degradation
    • LDN and tipping points
  • LDN from a governance point of view:
    • Soil and land degradation inventory and target setting
    • Land Stewardship
    • Instruments for awareness building
    • Soil and land degradation policy and management instruments and measures
    • Area approach and spatial planning instruments
    • Valorisation instruments for soil and land
    • Public–Private soil and land issues
    • Data monitoring and evaluation instruments
  • LDN from a societal point of view
    • Public–private cooperation in LDN implementation
    • LDN in relation to societal challenges
    • Awareness building instruments
    • Stakeholder involvement and LDN
  • LDN from a financial point of view
    • Business models to come to LDN
    • Natural Capital financing
    • Regenerative economy concepts
    • Funding instruments

Dr. Saskia Visser
Dr. Jan de Leeuw
Dr. Saskia Keesstra
Ir. Margot de Cleen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)
  • soil–water system
  • regenerative economy
  • connectivity
  • nature-based solutions
  • land-use planning

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality: A Robust Soil System Forms the Basis for Nature-Based Solutions
Land 2021, 10(12), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121300 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 256
Abstract
The SDGs can be split into three sets [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Research

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Article
Does External Shock Influence Farmer’s Adoption of Modern Irrigation Technology?—A Case of Gansu Province, China
Land 2021, 10(8), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080882 - 22 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Due to the severe irrigational water scarcity and ever-growing contamination of existing water resources, the potential of improved and innovative irrigation technology has emerged. The risk-taking network may play an essential role in the adoption of modern irrigation technology (MIT). The main goals [...] Read more.
Due to the severe irrigational water scarcity and ever-growing contamination of existing water resources, the potential of improved and innovative irrigation technology has emerged. The risk-taking network may play an essential role in the adoption of modern irrigation technology (MIT). The main goals of the current study were to find the impacts of external shocks on MIT adoption by farmers. For doing so, the study analyzed the mediating effect of economic vulnerability (EV) and the moderating effect of the risk-taking network on farmer’s adaptation of MIT. Economic vulnerability of farmers refers to risks caused by external shocks to the farming system which may affect the farmer’s adoption of MIT. The empirical set-up of the study consists of micro survey data of 509 farmers from the Gansu Province of China. The results show that the external shock has a significant negative impact on adapting MIT by rural farmers. At the same time, EV plays an intermediary effect in increasing the impact of external irrigation on the adaptation of MIT. The intermediary to total effect is 36.57%. The risk-taking network has a moderate effect on the relationship between external shocks, affecting farmers to adopt MIT, while external shocks also increase EV which affects farmers’ adopting MIT. Thus, it can be said that the risk-taking network regulates the direct path of external shocks affecting farmers’ choice to adapt to MIT, and external shocks also affect farmer’s MIT adaptation. The public and private partnerships should be strengthened to facilitate risk minimization. Government should provide subsidies, and financial organizations should also formulate more accessible loans and risk-sharing facilities. The government should expand the support for formal and informal risk-taking network. They should also extend their support for formal and informal risk-taking networks to improve the risk response-ability of vulnerable farmers. The concerned authorities should attach smallholder farmers’ socio-economic structure and reform the existing policies according to their demands. The governmental authorities should also endorse the risk-sharing function of informal institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Regional Farmers’ Perception and Societal Issues in Vineyards Affected by High Erosion Rates
Land 2021, 10(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020205 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 878
Abstract
We explore the current situation in a viticultural region in Eastern Spain from a holistic and multifaceted research approach, which allowed us to understand the biophysical conditions, economic cost, social impact, and perception of the farmers’ community to the use of catch crops. [...] Read more.
We explore the current situation in a viticultural region in Eastern Spain from a holistic and multifaceted research approach, which allowed us to understand the biophysical conditions, economic cost, social impact, and perception of the farmers’ community to the use of catch crops. A survey of the perception of the farmers, and an assessment of the biophysical impact of catch crops (CC) and tillage (C = Control plot) on soil organic matter, bulk density, infiltration capacity (single ring infiltrometer), and runoff generation and soil erosion (rainfall simulation experiments) was carried out. Two representative fields as study sites were selected in Les Alcusses valley, within Els Alforins wine production region. The results show that the use of CC increased soil organic matter, favored higher infiltration rates and runoff generation was delayed. Moreover, runoff rates and soil erosion were lowered. The perception of the farmers was mainly against the use of catch crops due to their view as it being ‘dirty’, their cost, and the loss of their reputation and respect by other farmers. Our survey proves that the farmers would accept the catch crops if a subsidy of 76.56 € ha−1 on average would be paid. Farmers see the use of a catch crop more as a benefit for the health of the Planet than for themselves. To achieve land degradation neutrality, education and dissemination programs should be developed to teach and inform the farmers of their key role in the proper management of vineyards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Effectiveness of Cover Crops to Reduce Loss of Soil Organic Matter in a Rainfed Vineyard
Land 2020, 9(7), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070230 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 2232
Abstract
Cover crops (CCs) minimize the loss of soil in permanent cropping systems where the soil is usually bare due to intense tillage or overuse of herbicides. The topsoil, the richer layer in soil organic carbon and organic matter (OM), is affected by water [...] Read more.
Cover crops (CCs) minimize the loss of soil in permanent cropping systems where the soil is usually bare due to intense tillage or overuse of herbicides. The topsoil, the richer layer in soil organic carbon and organic matter (OM), is affected by water erosion. Nature-based solutions appear as a suitable option for sustainable farming. In this study, the effectiveness of two years of CC management to reduce the OM loss is evaluated in a rainfed vineyard in a rolling landscape (Huesca, NE Spain). Two sediment traps collected runoff over 15 months. Topsoil OM contents (1.64% and 1.60%) and sediment/soil OM enrichment ratio (2.61 and 3.07) were similar. However, the average annual rate of OM loss was 3.6 times higher in the plot with lower vegetation cover than in the plot with CCs (1.29 vs. 0.35 kgOM ha−1 yr−1). The concentration of OMSed showed a negative relationship with the net soil loss; and significant differences appeared between the OMSed in the months with low and moderate-to-high ground cover. CCs are an excellent nature-based solution to control the unsustainable soil and OM losses measured in vineyards, which will contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Variable Forest Structure and Fire Reconstructed Across Historical Ponderosa Pine and Mixed Conifer Landscapes of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Land 2020, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9010003 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Late-1800s land surveys were used to reconstruct historical forest structure and fire over more than 235,000 ha in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer landscapes of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, to further understand differences among regional mountain ranges and help guide landscape-scale restoration [...] Read more.
Late-1800s land surveys were used to reconstruct historical forest structure and fire over more than 235,000 ha in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer landscapes of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, to further understand differences among regional mountain ranges and help guide landscape-scale restoration and management. Historically, fire-resistant ponderosa pine forests with low tree density and relatively frequent fire, the most restorable forests, covered only the lower 15%–24% of the study area. The other 76%–85% had dominance by mixed- to high-severity fires. Both ponderosa pine and dry mixed conifer had generally pervasive, often dense understory shrubs, and ~20% of pine and ~50%–75% of mixed conifer forests also had high historical tree density. Intensive fuel reduction and mechanical restoration are infeasible and likely ineffective in the upper part of the pine zones and in mixed conifer, where restoring historical fire and creating fire-adapted communities and infrastructure may be the only viable option. Old-growth forests can be actively restored in the lower 15%–24% of the montane, likely increasing landscape resistance and resilience to fire, but mixed- to high-severity fires did also occur near these areas. This imperfect resistance suggests that fire-adapted human communities and infrastructure are needed throughout the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Deep Tillage Improves Degraded Soils in the (Sub) Humid Ethiopian Highlands
Land 2019, 8(11), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8110159 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
Intensification of rainfed agriculture in the Ethiopian highlands has resulted in soil degradation and hardpan formation, which has reduced rooting depth, decreased deep percolation, and increased direct runoff and sediment transport. The main objective of this study was to assess the potential impact [...] Read more.
Intensification of rainfed agriculture in the Ethiopian highlands has resulted in soil degradation and hardpan formation, which has reduced rooting depth, decreased deep percolation, and increased direct runoff and sediment transport. The main objective of this study was to assess the potential impact of subsoiling on surface runoff, sediment loss, soil water content, infiltration rate, and maize yield. Three tillage treatments were replicated at five locations: (i) no tillage (zero tillage), (ii) conventional tillage (ox-driven Maresha plow, up to a depth of 15 cm), and (iii) manual deep ripping of the soil’s restrictive layers down to a depth of 60 cm (deep till). Results show that the posttreatment bulk density and penetration resistance of deep tillage was significantly less than in the traditional tillage and zero-tillage systems. In addition, the posttreatment infiltration rate for deep tillage was significantly greater, which resulted in significantly smaller runoff and sedimentation rates compared to conventional tillage and zero tillage. Maize yields were improved by 6% under deep tillage compared to conventional tillage and by 29% compared to no tillage. Overall, our findings show that deep tillage can be effective in overcoming some of the detrimental effects of hardpans in degraded soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Opportunities and Limitations for Achieving Land Degradation-Neutrality through the Current Land-Use Policy Framework in Kenya
Land 2019, 8(8), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080115 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2130
Abstract
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) land degradation neutrality (LDN) scientific conceptual framework underscores that LDN planning and implementation should be integrated into existing planning processes and supported by an enabling policy environment. Land-use planning, which requires the integration of different [...] Read more.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) land degradation neutrality (LDN) scientific conceptual framework underscores that LDN planning and implementation should be integrated into existing planning processes and supported by an enabling policy environment. Land-use planning, which requires the integration of different policy goals across various sectors concerned with land-use, can be an effective mechanism through which decisions with respect to LDN can be coordinated. Using Kenya as a case study, we examined current policy instruments that directly or indirectly impact on the use of land in a rural context, to assess their potential to implement LDN objectives. The qualitative content analysis of these instruments indicated that they are rich with specific legal provisions and measures to address LDN, and that there are a number of relevant institutions and structures across governance levels. However, the main shortcoming is the disjointed approach that is scattered across policy areas. Key policy improvements needed to support effective implementation of LDN include: a national soil policy on the management and protection of soil and land; a systematic and coordinated data collection strategy on soils; mobilisation of adequate and sustained financial resources; streamlined responsibilities, and governance structures across national, regional and county levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Determining Land Management Zones Using Pedo-Geomorphological Factors in Potential Degraded Regions to Achieve Land Degradation Neutrality
Land 2019, 8(6), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8060092 - 07 Jun 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1831
Abstract
The proper delineation of site-specific management zones is very important in the agricultural land management of potentially degraded areas. There is a necessity for the development of prospective tools in management plans to correctly understand the land degradation processes. In order to accomplish [...] Read more.
The proper delineation of site-specific management zones is very important in the agricultural land management of potentially degraded areas. There is a necessity for the development of prospective tools in management plans to correctly understand the land degradation processes. In order to accomplish this, we present a pedo-geomorphological approach using soil texture, land elevation and flow vector aspects to distinguish different management zones and to discretize soil micronutrients. To achieve this goal, we conducted the study in the Neyshabur plain, Northeast Iran. For data collection, grid sampling (500 × 500 m) was used with 70 specific points. Soil samples were collected in triplicates from various sites as composite samples (0–30 cm) to analyse clay, Zn, Mn, Cu and Fe. Using the altitude information (obtained with GPS at each sampling point), flow vectors were also modelled for all selected points. Based on the values of altitude, flow vectors and clay, management zones were delimited using geographic information systems. The best data organization was obtained from the combination of clay + elevation + flow vector attributes, generating two different management zones. In this circumstance, the lowest fuzzy performance index (FPI) and modified partition entropy (MPE) values were generated. It can be observed that the management zone 1 (MZ1) is located in the areas with a lower elevation and higher content of clay. On the other hand, the MZ2 was characterized by areas with a higher elevation and lower clay content. This study concluded that the design of management zones, using pedo-geomorphological information could reduce the time and cost of sampling necessary to assess potentially degraded areas of land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Article
Soil-Related Sustainable Development Goals: Four Concepts to Make Land Degradation Neutrality and Restoration Work
Land 2018, 7(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040133 - 10 Nov 2018
Cited by 309 | Viewed by 10254
Abstract
In the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food, health, water, and climate, an increase in pressure on land is highly likely. To avoid further land degradation and promote land restoration, multifunctional use of land is needed within the [...] Read more.
In the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food, health, water, and climate, an increase in pressure on land is highly likely. To avoid further land degradation and promote land restoration, multifunctional use of land is needed within the boundaries of the soil-water system. In addition, awareness-raising, a change in stakeholders’ attitudes, and a change in economics are essential. The attainment of a balance between the economy, society, and the biosphere calls for a holistic approach. In this paper, we introduce four concepts that we consider to be conducive to realizing LDN in a more integrated way: systems thinking, connectivity, nature-based solutions, and regenerative economics. We illustrate the application of these concepts through three examples in agricultural settings. Systems thinking lies at the base of the three others, stressing feedback loops but also delayed responses. Their simultaneous use will result in more robust solutions, which are sustainable from an environmental, societal, and economic point of view. Solutions also need to take into account the level of scale (global, national, regional, local), stakeholders’ interests and culture, and the availability and boundaries of financial and natural capital. Furthermore, sustainable solutions need to embed short-term management in long-term landscape planning. In conclusion, paradigm shifts are needed. First, it is necessary to move from excessive exploitation in combination with environmental protection, to sustainable use and management of the soil-water system. To accomplish this, new business models in robust economic systems are needed based on environmental systems thinking; an approach that integrates environmental, social, and economic interests. Second, it is necessary to shift from a “system follows function” approach towards a “function follows system” one. Only by making the transition towards integrated solutions based on a socio-economical-ecological systems analysis, using concepts such as nature-based solutions, do we stand a chance to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030. To make these paradigm shifts, awareness-raising in relation to a different type of governance, economy and landscape and land-use planning and management is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Review

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Review
A Bibliometric Analysis on Land Degradation: Current Status, Development, and Future Directions
Land 2020, 9(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9010028 - 19 Jan 2020
Cited by 52 | Viewed by 4618
Abstract
Land degradation is a global issue receiving much attention currently. In order to objectively reveal the research situation of land degradation, bibliometrix and biblioshiny software packages have been used to conduct data mining and quantitative analysis on research papers in the fields of [...] Read more.
Land degradation is a global issue receiving much attention currently. In order to objectively reveal the research situation of land degradation, bibliometrix and biblioshiny software packages have been used to conduct data mining and quantitative analysis on research papers in the fields of land degradation during 1990–2019 (data update time was 8 April 2019) in the Web of Science core collection database. The results show that: (1) during the past 20 years, the number of papers on land degradation has increased. According to the number of articles, it is divided into four stages: a low-production exploration period, a developmental sprout period, expansion of the promotion period, and a high-yield active period. (2) Land-degradation research covers 93 countries or regions. The top five countries in terms of research volume are China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. China, the United States, and the United Kingdom are the most important countries for international cooperation in the field of land degradation. However, cooperation between countries is not very close overall. (3) Land degradation, degradation, desertification, remote sensing, soil erosion, and soil degradation are high-frequency keywords in the field of land degradation in recent years. (4) The research hotspots in the field of land degradation mainly focus on research directions such as restoration and reconstruction of land degradation, and sustainable management of land resources. (5) The themes of various periods in the field of land degradation are diversified, and the evolutionary relationship is complex. There are 15 evolutionary paths with regard to dynamic monitoring of land degradation, environmental governance of land degradation, and responses of land degradation to land-use change. Finally, the paper concludes that the research directions on land degradation in future include the process, mechanism, and effect of land degradation, the application of new technologies, new monitoring methods for land degradation, theory enhancement, methods and models of ecological restoration, reconstruction of degraded land, multidisciplinary integrated system research, constructing a policy guarantee system for the reconstruction of degraded land, and strengthening research on land resource engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Review
Causes and Controlling Factors of Valley Bottom Gullies
Land 2019, 8(9), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8090141 - 17 Sep 2019
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 1955
Abstract
Valley bottomland provides diverse agricultural and ecosystem benefits. Due to concentrated flow paths, they are more vulnerable to gully erosion than hillslope areas. The objective of this review was to show what caused valley bottoms gullies and to present deficiencies in existing rehabilitation [...] Read more.
Valley bottomland provides diverse agricultural and ecosystem benefits. Due to concentrated flow paths, they are more vulnerable to gully erosion than hillslope areas. The objective of this review was to show what caused valley bottoms gullies and to present deficiencies in existing rehabilitation measures. From the literature review, we found the following general trends: watershed characteristics determine location of valley bottom gullies; an increase in water transported from the watershed initiates the formation of gullies; the rate of change of the valley bottom gullies, once initiated, depends on the amount of rainfall and the soil and bedrock properties. Especially in humid climates, the presence of subsurface flow greatly enhances bank slippage and advancement of gully heads. Valley bottom gully reclamation measures are generally effective in arid and semi-arid areas with the limited subsurface flow and deep groundwater tables, whereas, for (sub) humid regions, similar remedial actions are not successful as they do not account for the effects of subsurface flows. To ensure effective implementation of rehabilitation measures, especially for humid regions, an integrated landscape approach that accounts for the combined subsurface and surface drainage is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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