11 Chapters
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6 Drylands

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6

Drylands

Elaine M. Solowey,1* Tilahun Amede,2 Alexandra Evans,3 Eline Boelee4 and Prem Bindraban5

1The

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES), Hevel Eilot, Israel; 2International

Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Maputo, Mozambique;

3Edge Grove School, Aldenham Village, Watford, UK; 4Water Health, Hollandsche

Rading, the Netherlands; 5World Soil Information (ISRIC) and Plant Research

International, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Abstract

Drylands are characterized by physical water scarcity, often associated with land degradation and desertification. Other factors that contribute to these problems include high population densities, unwise agricultural practices and overgrazing. However, while desert ecosystems are fragile and vulnerable and can collapse in the short term, given the right conditions and protection, these areas also have a great potential for recovery. Examples of the recovery of areas have led to the formation of counter paradigms and the emergence of a new understanding of drylands. This new understanding is founded on the recognition of the variability of these ecosystems from place to place and year to year, and of the influences of desert plants, animals and the agricultural practices of the people who live in drylands. This chapter defines both old and new paradigms, and discusses conditions that lead to non-sustainable situations and vulnerabilities. In addition, strategies are considered that can lead to proper land use and recovery.

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11 Management of Water and Agroecosystems in Landscapes for Sustainable Food Security

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11

Management of Water and

Agroecosystems in Landscapes for Sustainable

Food Security

Eline Boelee,1* Sara J. Scherr,2 Petina L. Pert,3 Jennie Barron,4

Max Finlayson,5 Katrien Descheemaeker,6 Jeffrey C. Milder,2 Renate

Fleiner,7 Sophie Nguyen-Khoa,8 Stefano Barchiesi,9

Stuart W. Bunting,10 Rebecca E. Tharme,11 Elizabeth Khaka,12

David Coates,13 Elaine M. Solowey,14 Gareth J. Lloyd,15 David Molden7 and Simon Cook16

1Water

Health, Hollandsche Rading, the Netherlands; 2EcoAgriculture Partners,

Washington, DC, USA; 3Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research

Organisation (CSIRO), Cairns, Queensland, Australia; 4Stockholm Environment

Institute, University of York, UK and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm

University, Stockholm, Sweden; 5Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), Charles

Sturt University, Albury, New South Wales, Australia; 6Plant Production Systems,

Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands; 7International Centre for

Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal;

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8 Increasing Water Productivity in Agriculture

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8

Increasing Water Productivity in Agriculture

Katrien Descheemaeker,1* Stuart W. Bunting,2 Prem Bindraban,3

Catherine Muthuri,4 David Molden,5 Malcolm Beveridge,6

Martin van Brakel,7 Mario Herrero,8 Floriane Clement,9 Eline Boelee,10

Devra I. Jarvis11

1Plant

Production Systems, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands;

Sustainability Institute, University of Essex, Colchester, UK; 3World Soil

Information (ISRIC) and Plant Research International, Wageningen, the Netherlands;

4World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya; 5International Centre for

Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal; 6WorldFish, Lusaka,

Zambia; 7CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, 2075, Colombo,

Sri Lanka; 8Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO),

St Lucia, Queensland, Australia; 9International Water Management Institute (IWMI),

Kathmandu, Nepal; 10Water Health, Hollandsche Rading, the Netherlands;

11Bioversity International, Rome, Italy

2Essex

Abstract

Increasing water productivity is an important element in improved water management for sustainable agriculture, food security and healthy ecosystem functioning. Water productivity is defined as the amount of agricultural output per unit of water depleted, and can be assessed for crops, trees, livestock and fish. This chapter reviews challenges in and opportunities for improving water productivity in socially equitable and sustainable ways by thinking beyond technologies, and fostering enabling institutions and policies. Both in irrigated and rainfed cropping systems, water productivity can be improved by choosing well-adapted crop types, reducing unproductive water losses and maintaining healthy, vigorously growing crops through optimized water, nutrient and agronomic management. Livestock water productivity can be increased through improved feed management and animal husbandry, reduced animal mortality, appropriate livestock watering and sustainable grazing management. In agroforestry systems, the key to success is choosing the right combination of trees and crops to exploit spatial and temporal complementarities in resource use. In aquaculture systems, most water is depleted indirectly for feed production, via seepage and evaporation from water bodies, and through polluted water discharge, and efforts to improve water productivity should be directed at minimizing those losses. Identifying the most promising options is complex and has to take into account environmental, financial, social and health-related considerations. In general, improving agricultural water productivity, thus freeing up water for ecosystem functions, can be achieved by creating synergies across scales and between various agricultural sectors and the environment, and by enabling multiple uses of water and equitable access to water resources for different groups in society.

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2 Drivers and Challenges for Food Security

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2

Drivers and Challenges for Food Security

Jennie Barron,1* Rebecca E. Tharme2† and Mario Herrero3

1Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, UK and Stockholm Resilience

Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; 2The Nature Conservancy (TNC),

Buxton, UK; 3Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO),

St Lucia, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

At the global scale, humanity is increasingly facing rapid changes, and sometimes shocks, that are affecting the security of our food systems and the agroecosystems that are the ultimate sources of food. To plan and prepare for resilient food production and food security in a sustainable and efficient way, we are challenged to better understand the conditions and likely responses of these diverse agroecosystems under various drivers of change and scenarios of future trends. Among the many direct drivers and indirect pressures that exist or are emerging, the discussion in this chapter focuses on the main themes of drivers of demographic changes, globalization of economic and governance systems (including markets), and climate change. The current state of health of water and land resources, and of ecosystems and their services, are considered alongside these drivers, as these are critical determinants of the pathways with sufficient potential to move food-producing systems towards more sustainable production.

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10 Water Management for Ecosystem Health and Food Production

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10

Water Management for Ecosystem Health and Food Production

Gareth J. Lloyd,1* Louise Korsgaard,1† Rebecca E. Tharme,2 Eline

Boelee,3 Floriane Clement,4 Jennie Barron5 and Nishadi Eriyagama6

1UNEP–DHI

Centre for Water and Environment, Hørsholm, Denmark; 2The Nature

Conservancy (TNC), Buxton, UK; 3Water Health, Hollandsche Rading, the

Netherlands; 4International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Kathmandu, Nepal;

5Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, UK and Stockholm Resilience

Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; 6International Water Management

Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka

Abstract

The integrated, efficient, equitable and sustainable management of water resources is of vital importance for securing ecosystem health and services to people, not least of which is food production. The challenges related to increasing water scarcity and ecosystem degradation, and the added complexities of climate change, highlight the need for countries to carefully manage their surface water and groundwater resources. Built upon the principles of economic efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability, integrated water resources management (IWRM) can be shaped by local needs to maximize allocative efficiency and better manage water for people, food, nature and industry. However, the flexibility of the approach means that it is interpreted and applied in ways that prioritize and address immediate challenges created by demographic, economic and social drivers, often at the expense of environmental sustainability – and hence also of long-term food security. The need to more explicitly include ecosystems in water management practices and safeguard long-term food security can be addressed partly by refining the notion of ‘water for food’ in IWRM as ‘water for agroecosystems’. This would also serve to eliminate much of the current dichotomy between ‘water for food’ and ‘water for nature’, and deliver a more balanced approach to ecosystem services that explicitly considers the value and benefits to people of a healthy resource base. The adoption of an ecosystem services approach to IWRM, and incorporation of environmental flows as a key element, can contribute to longterm food security and ecosystem health by ensuring more efficient and effective management of water for agroecosystems, natural systems and all its other uses.

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