Watershed/Landscape Management for Multiple Benefits and Climate Resilience 
- Experiences from Eastern Africa


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Learn how watershed and landscape management can be made climate resilient and be designed for multiple benefits. This presentation by Sally Bunning, Senior Land/Soils officer of the FAO Land and Water Division focuses on the principles of integrated watershed management, experiences, strategy and lessons learned based on the experiences from East Africa.

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  • This short-term project has piloted a range of activities across the major food production and livelihood systems in highland and lowland areas of the countries to test the potential of various practices and technologies to contribute to climate change adaptation
    Throughout  the course of the project, certain limitations were encountered in Ethiopia due to the lack of knowledge- and experience-sharing amongst farmers and focal experts. In addition, some farmers were unwilling or uncooperative when implementing physical and biological works, especially when it came to labor intensive participation. In conclusion, for enhanced performance and scaling-up of the project to increase the community’s adaptive capacity to combat climate change in the future, the following points should be considered:
    Applying sustainable practices that reduce water usage and increase water storage in soil, groundwater and in homestead are important;
    Community members need considerable skills in planning and implementation appropriate techniques to adapt to climate change;
    Continuous support should be provided at early stages of such initiatives (e.g. by woreda experts) on harvesting rainwater for use in the production of various horticultural crops, household use and livestock use (for drinking);
    Use of harvested rainwater through micro-irrigation efficiently provides water for plants in areas of water shortage;
    Experience sharing amongst farmers and technical staff is effective in increasing the adaptive capacity of smallholders to adapt to climate change (e.g. well –planned and co-ordinated exchange visits);
    Continuously ensuring that technologies advocated are appropriate (e.g. through research) – given the changing nature of weather patterns and predictions for climate change.
     The following detail may be wanted – or may be too much detail
  • A wide spatial variability in different forms of land degradation was noted within these watersheds. In most cases, the poor land is located at higher elevations within the watersheds, where the land is sloping and is less productive because of accelerated erosion. The low water holding capacity of the shallow soil at upper levels results in poor crop emergence and requires the crop to depend on unreliable frequent rains throughout the growing season. At lower levels, overall rates of erosion seem lower – although gullies have formed in places, resulting in highly concentrated areas of high soil loss.
  • A total of 380 households were addressed and were able to overcome issues of water scarcity using a range of rainwater harvesting practices.
    Improved rainwater capture for the 506 ha of farmland in the Wuruba watershed has helped to increase crop yields. Land users now produce an average of 2,300kg of grain crop (sorghum / teff) per season. Specifically, following the project’s activities on their land, Mr Hussen Arabu sowed sorghum on 0.75 ha and produced 4,500kg; and Mr Ahmed Arabu produced 1,000kg of tef from 0.5 ha – vital contributions to ensuring their households have sufficient food for the year. It is considered that the risk of crop failures has now been reduced.
    Hillside closure has increased biodiversity, with the return of wild animals and native plant species, for example monkeys, apes and also plant species including acacia.
    Water harvesting practices such as trenches and the practice of tie-ridge has considerably decreased floods and soil erosion.
    The rainwater harvesting structures (including 113 ponds lined with geo-membrane) have enabled smallholders to diversify their sources of income by decreasing the time and labor previously required to fetch water (Figure 2), also increasing household income through the availability of water used for horticultural crops and for other income generating practices such as poultry production, beekeeping (Figure 6).
    The practice of fattening small/large ruminants has increased during the project period, as smallholders use crop residues and waste from high value horticultural crop as feed sources.
    Diversification is considered a clear sign of increased resilience to the effects of climate variability.
    The value of land and water has increased sequentially for drinking, cooking and cleaning since the start of the project. If there is left-over water after watering small and large animals, soil can then be watered for garden vegetables, followed by watering tree crops and forage.
    The trend of households practicing rainwater harvesting and other income-generating activities has, and will continue to increase in the future. Prior to the promotion of rainwater harvesting, farmers did not have the adequate cash at hand - they now have.
    Experience sharing amongst farmers has diversified knowledge on water harvesting methods, allowing small holders to plan and effectively adapt to and mitigate climate change threats. Thus, in Wurba, rainwater harvesting methods have proven to be the most viable approach to increase the adaptive capacity of small-holders to adapt to climate change.
    Water is now not only collected for short-term use during the rainy season, but is also effectively made available for several months into the dry season. Excavation of ponds has reportedly decreased the period of drought by an average of 3 months.
    There has been a considerable decrease in migration by nearly 75% of reduction and child labor has also decreased. Children who were once sent away from home for labor employment can now be sent instead to elementary and secondary schools.
    Further opportunities to satisfy water demand are continuously being created as more households adopt the good practices introduced by the project.
  • The project has demonstrated that one-size does not fit all; different local factors determine the most appropriate technologies and approaches. The local factors include:
    Biophysical factors;
    Socio-economic factors;
    Land ownership
  • The project focuses especially on identification, testing, demonstration and dissemination of best practices and technologies on soil and water management measures and practices (better soil health / fertility and improved water management), as well as on water harvesting techniques which should help small-scale farmers to adapt to climate change. The expected outcomes were improved food security (quality and quantity) and farmers’ increased resilience increased to climate changes.
    This in-depth analysis of the results of the pilot projects seeks to identify those technologies that decrease crop production risk, to identify which technologies are best suited to particular regions and agroecological zones. It is anticipated that these results will then be used to improve the geographical targeting of land and water management techniques as part of efforts to promote farm-level adaptation to climate change.
  • Watershed/Landscape Management for Multiple Benefits and Climate Resilience 
- Experiences from Eastern Africa

    1. 1. Global Landscapes Forum, UNFCCC Warsaw, 16 Nov. 2013 Session 2.5: Towards a sustainable landscape approach: New generation of Integrated watershed management for rural development, resilience and empowerment Watershed/Landscape Management for Multiple Benefits and Climate Resilience - Experiences from Eastern Africa by Sally Bunning, Senior Land/Soils officer, and colleagues of the FAO Land and Water Division
    2. 2. Content 1. Principles of participatory, integrated watershed management 2. Experiences • GEF/FAO Kagera River basin Transboundary agro-ecosystem management • SIDA/FAO Strengthen capacity of farmers to adapt to climate change through land and water management in Sub Saharan Africa 3. Issues, Strategy and Actions • Awareness of effects of current practices on farm, landscape and impacts on livelihoods and Ecosystem services • Demonstrate benefits of SLM on farm and watershed management to farmers , technical sectors and policy makers (local, national, global) • Demonstrate why land & water management crucial for climate resilience 4. Lessons learned making a case for investing in and promoting participatory integrated watershed management for food security and climate resilience Global Landscapes Forum, UNFCCC Warsaw, 16 Nov. 2013
    3. 3. 12 key principles of the “new generation of watershed management” 1. Treat underlying causes (not just symptoms) 2. Generate scientific evidence (soil health, water quality, biodiversity effects, climate effects and resilience) 3. Integrated approach (multi-sector and multi-stakeholder) 4. Holistic planning and implementation (watershed plan) 5. Co-financing and low cost interventions (wider adoption) 6. Institutional arrangements at all levels (local-national) 7. Capacity development at all levels 8. Bottom up & top down process (local empowerment; policy) 9. Gender balance in decision making 10. Support & Incentive measures to adopt SLM- PES, access to finance, investment 11. Monitoring & evaluation (demonstrate multiple benefits and impacts including climate resilience) 12. Flexible, adaptive, long-term program /partnership
    4. 4. Integrated Watershed managementapproach (intersectoral) Watershed management : integrated use and management of land, vegetation and water resources in a geographically discrete catchment or drainage area through people-centred approaches with all stakeholders, for the benefit of residents and wider society, through enhancing productivity and livelihoods and maintaining the range of ecosystem services, in particular the hydrological services that the watershed provides, and reducing or avoiding negative downstream or groundwater impacts Participatory, people centred, wider scale approach and investment •Soil restoration OM + nutrient cycling •Hydrology-supply + quality •Biomass + C cycle •Biodiversity •Systems approach • Productivity, + Income • Climate change A & M • Socio-cultural (wellbeing, • aesthetics, recreation, tourism, heritage 4
    5. 5. 4. Holistic planning/ implementation - optimise impacts of various technologies across the watershed 1. Characterise watershed (NR and human, DPSIR ) 2. Develop integrated SLM/ watershed management plan 3. Enabling environment Put in place local governance + institutional + policy support 4. Implement plan 5. Monitor & Assess •Impacts of each technology & combined (on farmers, other NR users offsite, upstream down-stream, watershed) •Process: local level management, decision making and degree of adoption 6. Identify challenges, find solutions, update plan
    6. 6. Example 1: Kagera river basin Treat underlying causes not just symptoms State: Degradation (soil erosion & fertility loss, poor water quality & flow, are result of loss of vegetation cover, biodiversity & ecosystem functions) Pressures multiple and accelerating
    7. 7. Kagera River Basin TB agro-ecosystem management project (TZ, UG, BU, RW) Impacts of degradation of productive land resources on which economy depends : poverty; food insecurity; conflict over resources, youth outmigration (labour shortage) LAND WATER PEOPLE Need to Address the DRIVERS that are increasing pressures on resources! •Population growth  competition on limited resources, reduced farm size, fragmentation, over exploitation (farm, common property) • Tenure insecurity  poor land use/ management practices; differential access rights (herds; land) •Low knowledge base at all levels •Market demand- commodity driven, sectoral 7 •Weak policy and institutional support
    8. 8. Step 1 Community awareness of local benefits of restoring goods & ecosystem services Deforestation - tree cutting for charcoal production, Gasharu catchment, Rwanda • Deforestation, loss of woody biomass & biodiversity • Soil erosion, nutrient mining and loss of soil quality  low productivity of crop, grazing and forest lands • Pervasive biomass burning (bush fires, burning crop residues, cooking with firewood  poor vegetative cover and loss of soil organic matter Community sensitization meeting
    9. 9. Soil & water conservation (labour intensive)- improve productivity Need to demonstrate increased productivity and other multiple benefits for local community Runoff Trap ponds Bench terraces Rainwater retention ditches Mulch, fertilizer, manure and compost
    10. 10. Diversify crops, livestock, trees in LUS for environment & livelihood benefits Grevillea spp Passion fruits Livestock Vegetable production Bamboo for protecting buffer zones
    11. 11. Promote & monitor multiple land and water interventions across watershed • Soil and water conservation • Rotational grazing + controlled burning of grasslands • Stall fed livestock & fodder production and Aquaculture • ISFM–fertilizers + organic matter (SOC) • Conservation agriculture (no till) • Small scale irrigation • Seedling nurseries • Afforestation on steep marginal lands (>C stocks & < GHG emissions) • SFM for timber & fuelwood
    12. 12. Build on local knowledge and innovation Tanzania - Water Harvesting ditches from road catchment and use of mulch 20.11.13
    13. 13. Build on local knowledge and innovation Uganda - Progressive terraces & diversion ditches – FFS expert - advice to farmers How to design/maintain/ implement SLM practices - Monitor costs and benefits Process: 1. Desk top inventory of SLM best practices (GO+project staff) 2. Visit with local land users to complete inventory/verify BPs to assess and document 3. WOCAT Technology and Approaches questionnaires 4. Database for sharing 5. Fact sheet for extension
    14. 14. Demonstrate improved resilience to climate change Show how Improved LWM (soil moisture; reduced runoff, safe water flow) will increase resilience to climate change / disasters and enhance production and food security Contour Trenching Water Capture techniques Local varieties improved Seed multiplication systems improved (sorghum) 14 14
    15. 15. Catchment/Landscape Approach for Multiple benefits Bench terraces on Kagera landscapes – Rulindo district, Rwanda Wetlands well managed for Rice Production in Kirehe District, Rwanda Wheat production on bench terraces in Rulindo district - Rwanda SLM in a maize field in Kigina Catchment , Kirehe district in Rwanda
    16. 16. Scientific evidence for investment Monitor SLM Results against Targets Monitor progress and outreach process • No. of Farming families (FFS study plots) and FFS/Community groups • No. of micro-watersheds (and committees) and No. of hectares under SLM practices • No. of training materials disseminated and No. of service providers with enhanced skills/ capacities • No. of joint Investment plans (cofunding) Monitor Impacts •Agricultural productivity- yields • Vegetation biodiversity conservation • Above and below carbon (less GHG emissions) • Soil restoration and water quality • Marketing and Income • Community empowerment and social equity 16
    17. 17. Capacity development for Action Research & Gender balance in decision making at all levels Well made ridges on a radical terrace planted with Round potato for Umurava FFS group field Ballet box to assess knowledge change FFS group agroforestry tree nursery, Kamonyi district FFS group dynamics
    18. 18. Demonstrate benefits through WOCAT Tools monitoring costs/benefits  assess impacts produce extension material Questionnaires on SLM technologies and approaches Documenting information from and with land users Entering data in questionnaire Entering data in database Computer data entry form
    19. 19. Document- produce extension material for scaling up
    20. 20. Participatory Monitoring of impacts to convince policy makers to invest Qualitative..Need to quantify analysis for informed decision making 20
    21. 21. Prioritise low cost solutions + co-funding partnerships in the watershed Ex. Cost- benefit analysis - Shelterbelt 21
    22. 22. Incentives + Investment: Identify & design PES schemes & public-private partnerships 1. In Burundi, REGIDESO + Kagera TAMP project plan to protect HEP installation through community tree planting along Ruvyironza river…. 2. Protection of buffer zone around Lakes Rweru & Cohoha on BUR/RWA border and Lake Mweru in Uganda (ecotourism) • Community sensitisation / organisation • Tree planting along lake fringe & roads • Agroforestry species in fields • Protection and reafforestation of natural forest using indigenous sp.
    23. 23. Example 2: FAO SIDA project Strengthening Capacity for Small-Scale Farmers to Adapt through Land & Water Management (ETH, KEN, TAN) 1. 2. 3. 4. Restoring Soil Health Water Management Livelihood Diversification Building Resilient Communities
    24. 24. Improving adaptive capacities, Woruba watershed, Awash Basin, Ethiopia • Located in lowlands Showa Robit District, Amhara region • Dry agro-climatic zone, 1,420 masl • Mean annual rainfall of 900mm • Drought recurrence rate 5 years • Watershed area 612 ha, of which 506 is arable and 106 ha mostly used for grazing and fuel wood Woruba watershed prior to project implementation • Inappropriate cultivation, overgrazing and deforestation, result in soil erosion and soil fertility decline, also water scarcity, lack of pasture and livestock feed, also a fuelwood crisis.
    25. 25. Improving adaptive capacities, Woruba watershed, Awash Basin, Ethiopia Community based land and water management 1. Practices to retain surface runoff: stone check dams on hillside, cut-off drains, micro trenches, deep trenches and micro basins 2. Rainwater harvesting (sub-humid uni-modal, semi-arid and arid areas): ponds close to homesteads and on farm land) 3. Roof-top rainwater harvesting for houses, communal buildings with iron roofs and drip irrigation equipment for high value crops 4. Rotational and zero grazing practices: improved livestock feeding (fodder on farm, perennials around homesteads, rotations in grazing lands) 5. Biological conservation: planting of 1,650,000 indigenous and exotic drought tolerant tree varieties Rainwater harvesting ponds lined with geomembrane
    26. 26. Improving adaptive capacities, Woruba watershed, Awash Basin, Ethiopia Local governance & livelihood diversification •Community bylaw to regulate 123 ha of the community’s communal land (land use, livestock, use of NR). •Energy saving stoves, to sustain the green environment and to reduce deforestation •Diversification of smallholders’ income sources : Seeds for horticultural crops, short season legume species, poultry raising and beekeeping, chickens Three examples of new income generating activities in Showa Robit
    27. 27. Upstream-downstream conflict resolution in Tanzania Downstream investment in irrigation scheme  secure income & food supply but over time reduced water supply & eroded sediments and water wasted (poor scheduling) Upstream settlers (80s): lack of infrastructure, no investment, poor smallholders, blamed for water loss and damage downstream CONFLICT Farm level- heavy investment in time Legal recourse- evict, fine farmers. Conflict remains, risks undermine development Upstream-downstream dialogue, negotiation, consensus  solutions, collaboration and solidarity Planning among 2 groups of actors for land & water management across watershed, clean water supply, enhance production, watre use efficiency, reduce risk, market surplus  income, security
    28. 28. Improving adaptive capacities, Woruba watershed, Awash Basin, Ethiopia Results  380 households reduced water scarcity through range of rainwater harvesting practices  Trenches and tied-ridging considerably decreased runoff, soil erosion and flash floods  113 ponds lined with geo-membrane + treadle pumps) enabled smallholders to diversify sources of income by decreasing time and labour to fetch water; enhanced water use for supplementary short season crop  Hillside closure increased biodiversity  return of wild animals & native plant species  restore soils, livelihood opportunities, climate resilience
    29. 29. Lessons: 1. Strengthen Capacity of Small-Scale Farmers to Adapt through Land & Water Management Community-Based Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers through sustainable integrated watershed management and FFS approaches Focus on rainwater harvesting technologies and soil management /productivity to reduce impacts of increasing weather variability and climate change and reduce female labour Enhance income and livelihoods and reduce risk through agricultural productivity, livelihood diversification and ecosystem resilience Participatory, gender sensitive approaches to reach all members of the local community. Women & young girls fetch water from Sewer River, 4 km from homesteads ; women digging trenches on farms, Ethiopia
    30. 30. Lessons: 2. Capacity development - continuous support for adaptive management to change • Community members need considerable skills in planning and implementation (on farm and watershed scales) • Continuous support for local communities, district offices and service providers, policy/ decision makers (planning, implementation, monitoring &assessment) • Experience sharing among farmers & technical/ extension staff is effective in increasing adaptive capacity of smallholders • Ensure that technologies /approaches advocated are appropriate and continuously adapted to change (participatory learning and action research)
    31. 31. Lessons: 3. Participatory, integrated, multi-stakeholder strategy • Combine 4 pillars of action: soil and water management on farm and across watershed, enhance on farm productivity, diversify livelihoods and strengthen community organization for climate resilience. • Long term: Ensure that all concerned actors in a watershed have a common strategy and action plan for land & water use and that actions do not adversely affect resources/ecosystems for future generations • Multiple stakeholder and intersectoral process: Facilitate and enable stakeholders to cooperative and coordinate interventions through participatory, integrated watershed management plan • Document & demonstrate multiple benefits: Support local actors to monitor and document process, results and impacts  lessons learned, case studies, data for convincing Governments to invest in scaling up SLM/ watershed management (local, national, global benefits)
    32. 32. Lessons: 4. Scaling up requires collaboration among multiple actors/levels & scales (bottom up & topdown) River basin Watershed Catchment Farm Farmers Community Basin Herders Local authorities Technical Sectors National or River Authority better data and information on LW resources  better governance, planning, management by various users for improved productivity and water use efficiency
    33. 33. Lesson 5: Appropriate Institutional arrangements at all levels Community & Catchment planning • Local diagnosis  Community action plan • Fund + train service providers District land use planning and support • Integrate SLM in district plan & budget • Partnership (investment, credit, PES…) • SLM Knowledge: Training materials + media • Regulations: bye laws & conflict resolution • Multi-sector approaches Strengthening Governance • Participatory negotiated territorial approaches • Harmonize & Implement national strategies • Long term vision, rolling plan based on results based monitoring
    34. 34. Lessons: 6. Raise awareness of policy makers make a convincing case for investment Degradation scenario • Runoff, erosion, flash floods • Soil erosion & nutrient decline • Disrupt flow regime & water quality • Reduce soil, ground & surface water supply • Eutrophication effects on aquatic life; • Siltation- reduced capacity of dams; loss of wetland regulatory& buffer functions Loss of natural capital, Poverty, Food insecurity, risk, migration to cities • • • • Alternative winwin scenarioRestore ecological services Soil health & nutrient cycling, Hydrological regime... Carbon sequestration (soil, biomass Biodiversity- pollination, pest & disease control; • Productivity, + Income • Climate change A & M • Socio-cultural (wellbeing, food security, tourism) Integrated watershed / landscape management strategy & investment will generate multiple benefits (Agriculture + Food security, combating land degradation (NAP), sustainable use of biodiversity (NBSAP) , climate change (NAPA, NAMA) and poverty alleviation