Land is Considered a Resource Because It

The Approach – Facing the Claiming

one – Country Resources and People: Dependence and Interaction

Definition of Country and Land-Use

Functions of Country

The Basic Relationship: State, Population and Direction Strategies

Land Resources under Stress

  • Availability of Country
  • Pressure of Population
  • Symptoms of the Problem

The Cause of the Problem

The Point of Intervention


Further Recoommended Literature


This chapter provides land-related definitions, idebtifies future trends related to state resources and gives an overview of the cause-trouble-symptom relationship. Finally it identifies the indicate of intervention which is addressed by these guidelines.

Land is an essential natural resource, both for the survival and prosperity of humanity, and for the maintenance of all terrestrial ecosystems. Over millennia, people take become progressively more expert in exploiting land resources for their ain ends. The limits on these resources are finite while human demands on them are not. Increased demand, or pressure on state resources, shows upwardly as failing ingather production, degradation of land quality and quantity, and competition for land. Attention should now exist focused on the office of humankind as stewards rather than exploiters, charged with the responsibleness of safeguarding the rights of unborn generations and of conserving land as the basis of the global ecosystem.


  • land and land utilize
  • part of country
  • force per unit area on land
  • cause – trouble – symptoms
  • point of intervention: the approach

Definition of Land and Land Utilize

Country is not regarded just in terms of soils and surface topography, only encompasses such features as underlying superficial deposits, climate and water resources, and besides the plant and creature communities which have adult as a upshot of the interaction of these physical conditions. The results of human being activities, reflected by changes in vegetative embrace or by structures, are also regarded equally features of the land. Changing one of the factors, such as land use, has potential impacts on other factors, such every bit flora and fauna, soils, surface h2o distribution and climate. Changes in these factors can be readily explained past ecosystem dynamics and the importance of their relationships in planning and management of land resource has become increasingly evident.


Land Resources
refer to a delineable area of the earth’south terrestrial surface, encompassing all attributes of the biosphere immediately above or below this surface, including those of the near-surface climate, the soil and terrain forms, the surface hydrology (including shallow lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps), the near-surface sedimentary layers and associated groundwater and geohydrological reserve, the plant and creature populations, the human settlement pattern and physical results of past and present human activity (terracing, water storage or drainage structures, roads, buildings, etc.) (FAO/UNEP, 1997).

Land Use
is characterized by the arrangements, activities and inputs by people to produce, alter or maintain a sure land encompass type. (Di Gregorio and Jansen, 1998). State use divers in this way establishes a direct link between country encompass and the deportment of people in their surround.

State Embrace
is the observed (bio)concrete cover on the earth’southward surface (Di Gregorio and Jansen, 1998)

Functions of Country

The bones functions of land in supporting human and other terrestrial ecosystems tin can exist summarized as follows:

  • a shop of wealth for individuals, groups, or a community
  • product of food, fibre, fuel or other biotic materials for homo use
  • provision of biological habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms
  • co-determinant in the global free energy balance and the global hydrological cycle, which provides both a source and a sink for greenhouse gases
  • regulation of the storage and period of surface water and groundwater
  • storehouse of minerals and raw materials for human utilise
  • a buffer, filter or modifier for chemic pollutants
  • provision of physical space for settlements, manufacture and recreation
  • storage and protection of evidence from the historical or pre-historical record (fossils, show of past climates, archaeological remains, etc.)
  • enabling or hampering movement of animals, plants and people between one area and another

In the terminology of environmental economics, land tin can be regarded equally a stock renewable resource. Land resource practice not easily fit into the categories of
non-renewable. In general, they are slowly renewable; however, their rate of degradation far exceeds their natural rate of regeneration. In applied terms, this means that country that is lost to degradation is not naturally replaced inside a homo fourth dimension frame, resulting in a loss of opportunities for the next generation.

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The Basic Relationship: Land, Population and Management Strategies

The potential product of abundant state and its susceptibility to deposition are dependent on the management strategies employed and on inherent soil and other characteristics. In agriculture-dependant societies this combination of factors determines potentially the population that can be supported and the standard of living. When population increases in a given area, the increased demand on production can induce stress and consequent degradation of the country resource. If no other source of income can be tapped (e.thousand. by migration to urban areas) people’southward standards of living decrease. Nonetheless, if improved direction strategies (including technologies) are available, either the standard of living may rise or more people can exist supported at the aforementioned standard of living without deterioration of the natural resource base. It follows that an ample supply of country of suitable quality and appropriate production technologies are essential if the increasing demands of a growing population are to be met.

State Resources under Stress

Currently, state resources are clearly under stress; xvi percent of arable land is degraded and the percentage is increasing (FAO, 1997). Traditional systems of land management are either breaking downwards or are no longer advisable, and the direction and technology needed to supersede them is not always bachelor. The primary reason for this situation is the increasing demands placed on land by the unprecedented rate of population growth and the furnishings it induces. Externalities related to global change are also condign a constraint to sustainable country management.

Availability of Land

Even so the role of engineering science in increasing the number of people that tin can be supported by the terrestrial biosphere, in that location are finite limits to the supply of land resources. FAO estimates that a gross area of approximately ii.5 thousand one thousand thousand ha of land in the developing world2
has some potential for rainfed agronomics, although ii-thirds of the state are rated every bit having significant constraints due to topography or soil conditions, while not all of this land is available for agricultural production (Alexandratos, 1995). However, country is not evenly distributed either between countries or within countries, and the divergence in access to land relative to population need is more significant than global totals. Based on an assessment of the potential production from available land, and projected population growth in 117 countries in the developing world, FAO ended that by the year 2000, 64 countries (55 percent) would not exist able to support their populations from land resources alone using production systems based on low inputs (FAO, 1982).

Land is condign more and more deficient equally a resources, and this is specially true of country available for main production of biomass or for conservation related purposes. Competition for land amongst different uses is becoming acute and conflicts related to this competition more frequent and more than circuitous. This competition is often nearly apparent on the peri-urban fringe, where the standing pressures of urban expansion compete with agricultural enterprises, and with recreational demands. Such situations frequently pb to rapid increases in the economic value of country, and land tenure becomes an important political effect.

Many factors associated with global change straight or indirectly influence how land is used. These include biophysical influences, such every bit changes in climate or natural or human being-induced disasters, also equally socio-economic aspects such as trade liberalization, the globalization of markets, decentralization of conclusion making, privatization, and the widening gap betwixt the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

Pressure of Population

Although the rate at which population is increasing has slowed since 1980, the increase in actual numbers is currently higher than at whatsoever time in the world’due south history. Additions will boilerplate 97 million per year until the end of the century and 90 meg per year until Advertizement 2025. Xc-five percent of this increase is expected to take place in developing countries. Present figures signal that by the year 2050 Africa’s population volition be iii and a half times its present level, and by the year 2150, virtually 5 times.

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The previous hundred years has seen corking advances in the engineering science of production, such every bit the evolution of more productive ingather varieties and the extension of irrigation and fertilizer utilise. Nonetheless, it is condign more than hard for technological progress to keep upwards with the rising demands generated past population growth. This is partly a upshot of the extension of cropping to more than marginal areas where physical factors limit potential productivity and the risks of failure are college. The success of technology in coming together these demands has been geographically uneven, being near successful in areas of low recent population growth, such as Europe and North America, coming together with varied success in Asia and Latin America, and generally being least successful in sub-Saharan Africa, where food production per caput has actually declined by almost twenty percent since 1960.

Growth in full population over the past fifty years has been matched past a relative increase in the urban population at the expense of the rural population (Effigy one). The affect of this trend is 2-fold. On the one hand, move of people to the cities may reduce the absolute pressure level on land for agriculture while stimulating the market place for producers. On the other hand, production of principal products such as food, fibre and fuel must be produced from a diminishing land area past a diminishing relative population, while urban expansion reduces the total land available for agriculture. A farther factor is the disproportionate migration of economically active males to the towns, leaving women, children and the aged to shoulder the burdens of agronomics. The state of affairs is frequently exacerbated past government policies of urban bias, such as cheap food prices which favour the urban dwellers and their employers, but frequently penalize the food producers, who are commonly a less organized and less vociferous political constituency. Urbanization due to population growth and migration effects has besides promoted a growth in per caput consumerism which has further increased the demands on land resources.

Figure ane


Source: FAO, 1982

Symptoms of the Problem

The symptoms of the problem of pressure on state resource are manifested both in terms of impacts on people, and in terms of deterioration in the condition of land or impacts on other natural resources (Effigy ii).
The deterioration in country condition may be reflected by an dumb ability to conduct out any functions of the state listed to a higher place, some of which, such as reduced capacity to produce biomass, also, in turn, affect population back up or quality of life.



The Crusade of the Problem

Many of the above factors are interrelated.
Figure iii
presents the relationship between crusade, problem and symptoms.


CAUSE-Issues – SYMPTOM Human relationship

The problem of land resources under stress has physical, social and political causes. At the national level, short-term political gains take oft been made at the expense of long-term environmental harm. Determination-makers oft face inordinately difficult decisions when trying to increment production to alleviate poverty and feed people and at the same time conserve resource to stave off ecology degradation. Oftentimes the conclusion-makers forfeit long-term sustainability for immediate needs. This also holds truthful for the subsistence level country users who have little choice but to seek immediate benefits for survival. Applied science lone cannot be viewed as an answer. Frequently the technologies to manage such areas in a sustainable style are simply not available, or the state users do not have access to them due to lack of data or resource. However, a cardinal cistron is the function of human institutions and state use policies that must be adapted to face the claiming posed by these rapidly irresolute conditions.

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The Point of Intervention

The essential challenge is to address the pressure level on country in a fashion which does not cause farther deterioration in land resources or impair their essential functions. Equally the foregoing statistics indicate, this volition be an extremely hard task. The immediate priority is to suspension out of the downwards spiral, in which resources-express farmers are obliged, by shortage of land resources, to dethrone these express resources even farther by inadequate land husbandry in order to satisfy immediate subsistence needs. This scenario is shown in
Figure 4.

Effigy 4


Given that land resources management has a production and a conservation component, an obvious job is to ensure that the rate of production increases in a sustainable way. Maybe a less obvious, simply equally of import, aspect of country resources direction is the ability of country users and other decision-makers to accept informed decisions regarding the land resources. As long as rural populations remain significant and vulnerable, in that location is niggling opportunity to enhance social uppercase (didactics, institutional and social networks) which would atomic number 82 to enhanced decision making.

As shown in the simplified second scenario in
Figure iv, a primal to breaking the present downward spiral is to improve country users’ chapters to accept informed decisions. 1 attribute of this it to improve access to information and engineering science and to heighten the capacity to use them. In ane sense this is the mechanism used in conjunction with the green revolution, which has been extremely successful (especially in Asian countries) in improving yields and even building surpluses. However, the greenish revolution technologies take not proven to be sustainable, neither in yield production nor conservation of the natural resources.

Information and engineering science and the capacity to use them are essential to informed and more conscious decision making. Withal, if individuals or institutions are non empowered to make decisions then sustainable land management cannot be the effect. Establishing land-use policies that enable informed decisions to exist fabricated about state resource is therefore the disquisitional factor considering to be enabling policies must be congenital on stakeholder or land user interest.

In that location is no universal technological fix for the challenge of meeting man needs while protecting the terrestrial biosphere. Land varies greatly in its productive potential, constraints and responses to management, fifty-fifty within areas as small as an individual subcontract. The specific goals of groups of state users likewise differ, besides as the applied science and physical and financial resources at their disposal. The wide variations in land resources and socio-economic conditions necessitate an integrated planning approach practical with not bad flexibility to accost item questions and propose specific solutions.


Alexandratos, N. (ed). 1995.
World Agriculture: Towards 2010. An FAO Study.
Rome: FAO, & Chichester, UK: John Wiley.

Di Gregorio, A. and Jansen, L.J.Thou.

1998.Land Cover Classification Organisation (LCCS): Classification Concepts and User Manual.
For software version 1.0. GCP/RAF/287/ITA Africover – Eastward Africa Project in cooperation with AGLS and SDRN. Nairobi, Rome.

FAO. 1982.
Potential Population Supporting Capacities of Lands in the Developing World.
Technical report of Project INT/75/P13, based on the piece of work of One thousand.M. Higgins, A.H. Kassam, L. Naiken, Yard. Fischer, and M.One thousand. Shah. FAO/IIASA/UNFPA, Rome.

FAO/UNEP. 1997.
Negotiating a Sustainable Future for Country.

Structural and Institutional Guidelines for Land Resources Management in the 21st Century. FAO/UNEP, Rome.

Further Recommended Literature

Di Gregorio, A. and Jansen, 50.J.K. 1998.
A New Concept For A Land Cover Classification Arrangement.
The Country 2(i): 55-65.

FAO. 1996.
FAO Yearbook 49: Production.

FAO. 1999.
Terminology for Integrated Resource Planning and Direction.
FAO, Rome. (in press)

FAO/UNEP. 1996.
Our Land Our Future. A New Approach to Land Use Planning and Management.

UNCED. 1993.
Agenda 21: Programme of Action for Sustainable Development.
United nations, New York.

ii Bachelor data excluding China and the countries of the former Soviet Marriage.

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Land is Considered a Resource Because It