Soil and water conservation

An approach and technologies for sustainable management of natural resources

For the purpose of controlling land erosion and degradation, some farmers use simple methods and techniques, which they read from the books, learned from neighbours, found out from the ancestors’ experiences, or from agricultural consultants. Such technologies have been tested by time and are beneficial to farmers. It is important to collect and describe such practices as the best examples for dissemination among other farmers.

The purpose of this activity area is to contribute to sustainable land use through promotion and dissemination of local soil and water conservation approaches and technologies.

An approach and tools

The main idea of the approach is to use simple, non-capital-intensive technologies, available to ordinary farmers, which require implementation of six steps by using different tools:

Step 1: Identification of the best practices

Search and identify effective soil and water conservation technologies, which have been proven in practice for several years. At the same time, a special attention is to be given to the economic and environmental impact of a technology, for which the following selection criteria are used: simplicity, accessibility, innovation, efficiency, and environmental safety.

Step 2: Documentation and analysis

Initially, a team of experts evaluates the selected technologies. Further, the technology is to be described according to simple and accessible form. Description of a technology includes a detailed narrative of the technology itself, as well as its economic, social and environmental benefits. Additionally, it is necessary to provide information about the site, where the technology is applied and a farmer, who is practicing this technology.

Step 3: Dissemination

The reported technologies and approaches are disseminated mainly among the villages of various regions in Central Asia and are implemented together with partner organizations. One of the dissemination tools is an exhibition that accompanies the L4S training workshop on “Sustainable use of natural resources. Soil and water conservation practices.”

Step 4: Implementation

The technologies are introduced as a practical application of the knowledge gained during implementation of the projects together with local communities in the areas of sustainable pasture use, conflicts management over natural resources, adaptation to climate change and energy efficiency. The technologies are introduced by local rural initiative groups in consultation with experts.

Step 5: Monitoring and evaluation

Introduction of technologies require further monitoring and evaluation. A participatory monitoring and impact assessment method has been elaborated. Specific indicators are defined together with the local population. Farmers’ diaries are designed to be used to monitor impact of the technologies used at the household level. Based on the monitoring data it is analysed an impact of interventions on the economic, social and environmental aspects of land use.

Step 6: Further dissemination 

swc

To make the documented technologies available globally, the information collected was incorporated into the database of the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies, WOCAT (www.wocat.net).

Over 120 various SWC technologies were collected throughout Central Asia, which were disseminated among farmers in the form of the published brochures. All of them have been translated into Russian language, and their copies were developed in Tajik, Kyrgyz and Kazakh languages​​ in accordance with the original of each individual technology.