Tools for better SLM knowledge management and informed decision-making in addressing land degradation at different scales: the WOCAT–LADA–DESIRE methodology

Liniger, Hanspeter; Schwilch, Gudrun; Mekdaschi, Rima; Providoli, Isabelle; Bunning, Sally; Biancalani, Riccardo; van Lynden, Godert (2013). Tools for better SLM knowledge management and informed decision-making in addressing land degradation at different scales: the WOCAT–LADA–DESIRE methodology. In: 2nd UNCCD Scientific Conference. Bonn, Deutschland. 9.-12. Apr. 2013.

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Desertification research conventionally focuses on the problem – that is, degradation – while neglecting the appraisal of successful conservation practices. Based on the premise that Sustainable Land Management (SLM) experiences are not sufficiently or comprehensively documented, evaluated, and shared, the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) initiative (, in collaboration with FAO’s Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) project ( and the EU’s DESIRE project (, has developed standardised tools and methods for compiling and evaluating the biophysical and socio-economic knowledge available about SLM. The tools allow SLM specialists to share their knowledge and assess the impact of SLM at the local, national, and global levels. As a whole, the WOCAT–LADA–DESIRE methodology comprises tools for documenting, self-evaluating, and assessing the impact of SLM practices, as well as for knowledge sharing and decision support in the field, at the planning level, and in scaling up identified good practices. SLM depends on flexibility and responsiveness to changing complex ecological and socioeconomic causes of land degradation. The WOCAT tools are designed to reflect and capture this capacity of SLM. In order to take account of new challenges and meet emerging needs of WOCAT users, the tools are constantly further developed and adapted. Recent enhancements include tools for improved data analysis (impact and cost/benefit), cross-scale mapping, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, and easier reporting on SLM best practices to UNCCD and other national and international partners. Moreover, WOCAT has begun to give land users a voice by backing conventional documentation with video clips straight from the field. To promote the scaling up of SLM, WOCAT works with key institutions and partners at the local and national level, for example advisory services and implementation projects. Keywords: Sustainable Land Management (SLM), knowledge management, decision-making, WOCAT–LADA–DESIRE methodology.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre [discontinued]
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Liniger, Hans Peter, Schwilch, Gudrun, Mekdaschi, Rima, Providoli, Isabelle


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




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Date Deposited:

18 Sep 2014 11:55

Last Modified:

30 Aug 2023 08:58




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