COMSTECH Forum on Environment and Ecosystem Restoration to be launched on June 6

ISLAMABAD, May 17 (APP): The launching ceremony of ‘COMSTECH Forum on Environment and Ecosystem Restoration’ (CFEER) along with a seminar on `Land Degradation’ will be held on June 6 at COMSTECH Secretariat to mark the World Environment Day.

According to an official of COMSTECH, the seminar will cover various topics including Evaluation of land degradation based on watershed modeling and monitoring, Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLM) practices in arid and semi-arid regions, Induced climate change on the hydrology and landscape and crop production and Socio-hydrology and land management.

The webinar is open to students, researchers, scientists, policy makers, independent think tanks, government officials and academicians from the OIC member states and other countries.

The intended participants can register at the following link: https://forms.gle/578fqHs4uju4LpBQA to attend the event physically while they can register for virtual participation through https://forms.gle/UAKWCBq8juDe9CBe6. The workshop will be held at the COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Land degradation has socioeconomic and environmental repercussions impacting food and water security and the livelihoods of agricultural communities. Induced climate change, and particularly the dynamics of extreme events including floods and droughts is expected to accelerate the rate of degradation, and, at the same time, posing a real risk of desertification.

Over the past few decades, as a result of the multiple drivers, including rapid population growth and socio-political changes and conflicts, increased demand for natural resources, poor land-use planning, agricultural intensification and climate change.

Various local key drivers of degradation relate with local and historical management, super-imposed by natural or anthropogenic triggered events.

This rampant degradation has lead to unsustainable agricultural systems, increased rural to urban migration, and eventually to the loss of ecosystem services. Some of the problems are erosion, reduced soil fertility, loss of biodiversity and habitats, water quality degradation for surface flow and groundwater, salinization, wildfires.

In particular, dry lands, where water is scarce and in many cases not available during summer, it is difficult to maintain a cover crop to prevent erosion, and in many rural areas it may be costly to acquire new technologies for reduced tillage or precision agriculture. Erosion and loss of topsoil will further result in losses in food production capacity.

Soil and water management practices (SWMP) have been developed for the prevention of further degradation and suggested for the restoration of degraded land. These best practices include cropped land and forests and include soil and water management as well as agro-ecological practices.

However, restoration and adoption are slow for several natural and anthropogenic reasons, both of which differ across geographies and economies.  Further, incentives and policies are lacking in many instances to drive the needed change. Thus, the challenge is to broaden the adoption of GMPs through demonstrations, leading-by-doing, and bridging science to practice.

Various Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLM) practices have been developed around the globe. SLMs are often tailored to specific agro-ecologies including agroforestry, agro-pastoral, rainfed and irrigated agriculture. These SLMs have a potential to halt land degradation within their context of application.

However, combating land degradation and desertification at certain scales reaches beyond the locally applied biophysical adaptation or mitigation measures. It requires integration and a robust linkage of well targeted interventions and management across heterogenic socio-ecological settings.