Friday, September 30, 2022

Jordan’s restoration efforts push back on degraded land

SABAH, Jordan ( Associated Press) — Efforts to restore once-damaged but fertile land in the Jordanian desert are raising hope for one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, as a land assessment report on Wednesday reported the global decline. warned of the increasing scale of

Local organizations believe that projects that reintroduce native plants and implement smart water harvesting systems will reduce the effects of climate change and desertification, which, according to a UN report, only worsen ready to be.

The United Nations Desertification Agency says that 40% of land is currently degraded globally, with land degradation blaming unsustainable land and water management, poor agricultural practices, mining, urbanization and infrastructure development.

Mira Haddad, of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, said climate change, along with “overexploitation of vegetation cover, encroachment, and … new land practices” may also contribute to land degradation in Jordan. are.

But environmentalists are already exploring options to prevent further damage. One of the efforts run by the Watershed and Development Initiative is introducing four native plants to the 10,000-acre (41 square kilometer) desert in the Sabha Reserve, about 56 miles (90 kilometers) east of the Jordanian capital, Amman.

“We’re working on water, we’re working on green cover and we’re also working with the habitats of organisms, from insects to animals and all living parts of that ecosystem,” said WADI founding member Diyala Taravneh said. “These plants have a success rate of 85%, which is considered a very high percentage, and they only need to be watered once, which is also reducing the amount of water needed to irrigate green areas.”

But despite the success of Wadi’s planting initiative, land restoration in Jordan still faces several challenges: the number of land unit areas available for restoration is lacking, and local communities desire at least one or two rainy seasons. There is a desire to leave the land without the weather. ICARDA’s Haddad said grazing is also hindering efforts.

According to a UN report, Jordan is one of several countries already grappling with the effects of the decline, with more than 2.3 billion people currently living in water-stressed countries. It warned that more food supply disruptions, forced migration and greater pressure on species survival are also expected as climate change intensifies and poor land management practices continue. By 2030, it warns that 700 million people could be displaced by drought.

“The situation we have right now is unhealthy and certainly not acceptable,” Ibrahim Thiaw, acting secretary of the United Nations Desertification Agency, told the Associated Press. “The more you degrade the land, the more you emit carbon and the more you contribute to climate change.”

The report calls for financial assistance to promote conservation and restoration in developing countries. It states that expansion of protected areas and conservation hotspots, better water management, smart agriculture, and the revival of biodiversity can be promoted with appropriate funding.

If such measures are implemented on a wider scale, the United Nations agency’s restoration landscape is predicted to reduce biodiversity loss and improve soil health, particularly in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, Central With benefits felt in the East and Latin America.

But it also notes that inactivation will lead to 16 million square kilometers (6 million sq mi) – roughly the size of the entire South American continent – ​​of land degradation by 2050.

The report also recommended increasing land rights for indigenous peoples and local communities, urging farmers to take substantial lessons about established customs and traditional knowledge about land restoration, crop adaptation and livestock. has gone.

“We welcome new allies in this fight, including economic actors interested in avoiding climate risk, but we must be clear that we will not be used for greenwashing,” said Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal Amazon Basin, leader of Congressional Indigenous Organizations, said in a statement. “Partnering with indigenous peoples requires embracing transformative change.”

Thiaw of the United Nations agreed that support for restoration projects should be increased.

“The message from the report is not to take land degradation as a fatality. It can be addressed, and it is the cheapest solution to the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. It is possible to do this by 2050, which is just one generation,” said Thiaw. “It doesn’t require high technology nor a PhD to do it. Land restoration is accessible and democratic.”

Many countries, such as Jordan, are already addressing their own land issues, from drought preparedness programs in Mexico, the US and Brazil to the Great Green Wall of 11 countries in Africa. With the aim of restoring 100 million hectares (390,000 sq mi) of degraded landscapes along the Sahel.

“Land restoration is a win-win for the environment, economy, society and biodiversity,” said Thiaw. “What we are calling for right now is to accelerate such programs.”

Nation World News Desk
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