PR – Through funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the Climate Resilient Agriculture for Integrated Landscape Management Project in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forestry.
In August, the GEF/UNDP Climate- Resilient Agriculture Project provided field demonstration and practical hands-on experience in the development and maintenance of check dams and gully plugs, using natural materials, as effective erosion control structures. Over 35 persons, including 20 women, participated in this demonstration activity, which took place within the Grand Etang Forest Reserves.
Increased rainy periods are typically associated with increased soil erosion on hillsides and nature-based solutions (NbS) offer solutions to societal challenges and environmental degradation issues through working with nature. The concept of using NbS is grounded in the knowledge that healthy natural and managed ecosystems produce a diverse range of services on which human wellbeing depends, including measures to reduce soil erosion, promote landscape stability, and support integrated watershed management.
UNDP’s Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Specialist, Aiden Forteau, and members of the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture supported the participants in knowledge development through key activities, including identification of slopes and hillsides affected by high-velocity erosion flows; determination of appropriate site and distancing for development of check dams along the slopes and gullies; determination of the type of natural materials, such as stone, wood and foliage, for implementation and maintenance of check dams; and construction and maintenance of check dams.
According to Forteau, check dams can be used where temporary channels or permanent channels are not yet vegetated; channel lining is infeasible, and velocity checks are required. The appropriate use of the check dam will serve to limit erosion by reducing flow in small open channels. This approach is typically suitable for use of drainage areas within two acres or less.
This nature-based approach for the check dam demonstration activity is part of the various climate-resilient practices the project is implementing to build capacity for sustainable landscape management as a restoration tool in the context of watershed rehabilitation. In contrast with many engineered solutions, NbS have the potential to tackle both climate mitigation and adaptation challenges at relatively low cost, while delivering multiple additional benefits for people and nature.
Also present during the training was UNDP Project Coordinator, Ms. Rudo Udika, who indicated that the project intends to continue the implementation of capacity building for Sustainable Land Management and Climate Smart Agriculture activities. Specifically, the GEF/ UNDP Climate Resilient Agriculture Project will support a combination of activities to reduce deforestation and environmental degradation; reduce soil erosion and improve ground cover and access to sustainable livelihood opportunities. This will seek to augment existing good practices, test new innovative approaches, and develop and support replication of suitable practices.
The objective of the GEF/ UNDP Climate Resilient Agriculture Project is to operationalise integrated agroecosystem management through mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in productive landscapes and increasing the resilience of agricultural systems. The project intends to use an integrated landscape management approach that will allow combining resilient agricultural and conservation practices in productive landscapes.