Issue 7   Restoring Natural      Capital in Aridand Semiarid Regions      Combining ecosystem health            with human...
Les dossiers thématiques                                       French Scientific Committee on Desertification             ...
Foreword                                                     M                          Marc Bied-Charreton               ...
PreambleT           his CSFD special issue n°7 presents major          land and plant resources (rangelands, fuelwood, etc...
Table of Contents4                                              24Restoring natural capital: an ecological       Do arid r...
Restoring natural capital:an ecologicaland socioeconomicimperativeH              umanity’s ecological           footprint ...
The   Focus                                                                               The ecological footprint: the en...
An extensive rangeland with a brown vertisol          developed on calcareous shale. Erosion is due to                    ...
The restoration of natural capital (RNC) is thus                        Economic growth nowadays takes precedent over thea...
What is natural capital?T          he natural capital concept was shaped in          the late 1970s (Jurdant et al., 1977)...
Restoring natural capital: bridging the disciplinary and                                                            ideolo...
FocusElastic model: relationship between                                        K: capitalnatural capital and growth      ...
Developed countries                              Increasing           Developing countries                                ...
Agriculture in Tunisia. Sorting dates                                                                                     ...
On the outskirts of a village, a small-scale factory for      making bricks from a mixture of clay, straw and water.      ...
What does restoringnatural capital involve?R          estoring natural capital is a novel ma-          nagement approach b...
Preparation of a field using the zaï technique in                           Yatenga province, Burkina Faso. The traditional...
Ecological restoration of ecosystem functions in           Ecosystem services can be ranked in four generalarid and semiar...
ExampleRestoring natural capitalin tiger bush areas in AustraliaA project was carried out from 1996 to 2007 to restore nat...
Socioeconomic benefitsof restoring natural capitalin arid regionsT          he economic, social and environmental cost of ...
Focus                                                                                  Economics and ecosystems: calculati...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers théma...
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Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N° 7.

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Lacombe Morgane and Aronson James, 2009. Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N° 7. - A comprehensive state of the art about the restoration of natural capital: an alternative approach of environmental management...

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Restoring natural capital in arid and semiarid regions combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N° 7.

  1. 1. Issue 7 Restoring Natural Capital in Aridand Semiarid Regions Combining ecosystem health with human wellbeing Comité Scientifique Français de la Désertification French Scientific Committee on Desertification
  2. 2. Les dossiers thématiques French Scientific Committee on Desertification du CSFD Issue 7 The creation in 1997 of the French Scientific Committee on Managing Editor Desertification (CSFD) has met two concerns of the Ministries in Marc Bied-Charreton charge of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. President of CSFD First, CSFD materializes the will to involve the French scientific Emeritus Professor at the University of Versailles community versed in desertification, land degradation, and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ, France) Researcher at the Center of Economics and Ethics for development of arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas, in generating Environment and Development (C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ) knowledge as well as guiding and advising the policy makers and actors associated in this combat. Its other aim is to strengthen the Authors position of this French community within the international context. In order to meet such expectations, CSFD is meant to be a driving Morgane Lacombe Master student, Center for Evolutionary and Functional force regarding analysis and assessment, prediction and monitoring, Ecology/National Center for Scientific Research information and promotion. Within French delegations, CSFD also (CEFE/CNRS, France) takes part in the various statutory meetings of the organs of the United mlaco113@hotmail.fr Nations Convention to Combat Desertification: Conference of the James Aronson Parties (CoP), Committee on Science and Technology (CST), Researcher at CEFE/CNRS, France Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. james.aronson@cefe.cnrs.fr It also participates in meetings of European and international scope. Contributor CSFD includes a score of members and a President, who are appointed Marc Bied-Charreton, intuitu personae by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, President of CSFD and come from various specialities of the main relevant institutions and universities. CSFD is managed and hosted by the Agropolis Editing and iconography International Association that gathers, in the French town of Isabelle Amsallem (Agropolis Productions, France) Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon region, a large scientific agropolisproductions@orange.fr community specialised in agriculture, food and environment of tropical and Mediterranean countries. The Committee acts as an Design and production independent advisory organ; it has neither decision-making powers Olivier Piau (Agropolis Productions) nor legal status. agropolisproductions@orange.fr Its operating budget is financed by subsidies from the French Ministries of Foreign and European Affairs and for Ecology and Sustainable Planning and Development as well as the French Development Agency. CSFD members participate voluntarily to its Photography credits activities, as a contribution from the Ministry for Higher EducationDavid A. Bainbridge (Associate Professor, Alliant International University, and Research. USA), Danièle Cavanna (INDIGO picture library of the Institut de recherche pour le développement, IRD, France), Andre Clewell (Co-coordinator, RNC Alliance), Jordi Cortina (Editor of the journal More about CSFD: Ecosistemas, Spain), Angela Osborn (Fulfillment and Rights Manager,Island Press, USA), Christelle Fontaine (Assistant, CEFE/CNRS, France), www.csf-desertification.org Sue Milton (Professor, University of Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town, South Africa), David Tongway (Honorary Member, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation [CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems], invited researcher, Australian National University, Australia), as well as the authors of the pictures shown in this report. Translated by David Manley Printed by Les Petites Affiches (Montpellier, France) Copyright registration on publication • ISSN: 1772-6964 1,500 copies (also available in French) © CSFD/Agropolis International, June 2009For reference: Lacombe M., Aronson J., 2009. Restoring Natural Capital inArid and Semiarid Regions. Combining ecosystem health with humanwellbeing. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. N°7. June 2009. Editing, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD are Editing, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD areCSFD/Agropolis International, Montpellier, France. 36 pp. fully supported by this Committee through the backing of relevant French fully supported by this Committee through the backing of relevant French Ministries as well as the French Development Agency. Les dossiers thématiques Ministries as well as the French Development Agency. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD may be freely downloaded from the Committee website. du CSFD may be freely downloaded from the Committee website.
  3. 3. Foreword M Marc Bied-Charreton ankind is now confronted with an issue President of CSFD of worldwide concern, i.e. desertification, Emeritus Professor of the University which is both a natural phenomenon and of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines a process induced by human activities. (UVSQ, France) Our planet and natural ecosystems have never been so Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ degraded by our presence. Long considered as a local (Centre of Economics and Ethics for problem, desertification is now a global issue that affects Environment and Development) us all, including scientists, decision-makers, citizens from both the South and North. Within this setting, it is urgent to boost the awareness of civil society to convince it to get involved. People must first be given the elements necessary to better understand the desertification phenomenon and the concerns. Everyone should have access to relevant scientific knowledge in a readily understandable language and format. Within this scope, the French Scientific Committee on Desertification has decided to launch a new series entitled Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD, which is designed to provide sound scientific information on desertification, its implications and stakes. This series is intended for policy makers and advisers from the North and South, in addition to the general public and scientific journalists involved in development and the environment. It also aims at providing teachers, trainers and trainees with additional information on various associated fields. Lastly, it endeavours to help disseminate knowledge on the combat against desertification, land degradation, and poverty to stakeholders such as representatives of professional, nongovernmental, and international solidarity organisations. A dozen reports are devoted to different themes such as global public good, remote sensing, wind erosion, agroecology, pastoralism, etc, in order to take stock of current knowledge on these various subjects. The goal is also to set out ideological and new concept debates, including controversial issues; to expound widely used methodologies and results derived from a number of projects; and lastly to supply operational and intellectual references, addresses and useful websites. These reports are to be broadly circulated, especially within the countries most affected by desertification, by e-mail (upon request), through our website, and in print. Your feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated! Editing, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD are fully supported by this Committee thanks to the backing of relevant French Ministries and the French Development Agency. The opinions expressed in these reports are endorsed by the Committee. 1
  4. 4. PreambleT his CSFD special issue n°7 presents major land and plant resources (rangelands, fuelwood, etc.). features of the ‘restoring natural capital’ Even these very basic needs are currently not being (RNC) concept applied to arid and semi- fulfi lled. The moment is hence now ripe to design and arid regions for the purposes of facilitating promote the adoption of an alternative approach tocommunication, information sharing and discussion. environmental management that is socioeconomicallyThe goal is primarily: (1) to participate in promoting this fair and ecologically sustainable.approach to societies and communities most affectedby degradation of the environments and resources they Profound changes in the behaviour of our societiesmanage, and (2) to persuade governments and public (from field operators to policymakers) with respectand private assistance decision-makers to adopt this to the natural environment are required before suchapproach for their projects. an approach can be successfully implemented. These changes will be difficult and not sufficient to fulfi llThe present special issue is the result of a literature communities’ basic needs if they are not combined withreview of available scientific material concerning natu- efforts geared towards restoring the already substanti-ral capital restoration in arid and semiarid regions. This ally degraded natural capital, which in turn is known totopic has been the focus of numerous studies for several lead to the deterioration of human and social capital. Itdecades that gave rise to the concepts and defi nitions is thus recommended that social capital restoration alsopresented here. Most of these were adapted from the be promoted to ensure that natural capital restorationbook published by Aronson et al. (2007a), which pools projects will succeed.the contributions of 71 scientists, managers and journa-lists in the fields of ecology, economics and ecological Facilitation of information flow, sharing and communi-economics. cation on the concepts (especially scientific) underlying the RNC approach is essential. Responses to furtherSeveral sites in arid and semiarid regions throughout questions covered in this special issue, e.g. who shouldthe world are discussed to illustrate the elementary provide investment for restoring natural and socialconcepts of natural capital restoration through virtual capital, or how to provide long-term ecological moni-field visits. These examples are from the book of Clewell toring and follow-up, are provided in previous CSFD& Aronson (2007) that was written to help people invol- special issues. Social demand for the restoration of de-ved in activities of this budding ecological restoration graded ecosystems is generally low despite the ongoingprofession. environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, so preserving genetic resources should be a key priority toThese areas under harsh climatic conditions have been— ensure that ecological restoration projects will come toand still are to an increasing extent—sites of social fruition.confl ict for access to natural resources. The confl icts arefurther aggravated by the extreme poverty and marginal Édouard Le Floc’hliving conditions that prevail, and triggered mainly by Former researcher, CEFE/CNRSpoor management of vital natural capital such as water, Former CSFD member 2 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  5. 5. Table of Contents4 24Restoring natural capital: an ecological Do arid regions warrant RNC investment?and socioeconomic imperative 288 Prospects: towards a sustainable relationshipWhat is natural capital? between humankind and the environment?14 30What does restoring natural capital involve? For further information...18 35-36Socioeconomic benefits of restoring natural Glossary - List of acronyms and abbreviationscapital in arid regionsTable of Contents 3
  6. 6. Restoring natural capital:an ecologicaland socioeconomicimperativeH umanity’s ecological footprint is currently much greater than the Earth’s carrying capacity. This means that the natural resource consumption rate, theenvironmental degradation rate and the extent ofpollution emission due to the frantic tapping of theseresources are higher than the renewal and absorptionrate of ecosystems. Humanity, for the first time in itshistory, is devouring these reserves, which in turn isgiving rise to tightly linked ecological and humanitariancrises worldwide.An ecological crisis arising from an economic system too low to continue sustaining most economic systems in developed countries. Ecological restoration ofThe ecological crisis mainly involves loss of bio- degraded ecosystems is necessary. However, it will bediversity, shrinkage of natural areas and degradation futile if such initiatives are not combined with settingof ecosystem functionality on local, regional and up sustainable resource exploitation systems and ifglobal scales (MEA, 2003). The new environmental our consumption habits are not thoroughly modifiedconditions created by this crisis have especially led to (Aronson et al., 2007a). Experience has shown thatglobal warming and a reduction in readily accessible restoration projects are bound to fail if they are notdrinking water (Vitousek et al., 1997; Wackernagel et focused also on rectifying the ways resources areal., 2002). utilized, i.e. the renewed resources will be overtapped and again degraded since the initial causes still persistIt is currently acknowledged that humans—via the (Makhlouf, 1995).economic, social and cultural systems and structuresto which they belong—are accountable for this In arid and semiarid regions, land degradationdegradation (Makhlouf, 1995), despite the direct due to overuse is often the result of the insecureimpacts on humankind, including the worsening of socioeconomic conditions that prevail—meeting theconflicts for resource access and the loss of natural basic food needs of humans and livestock herds is agoods and services (e.g. wood supplies, carbon prime concern.sequestration, etc.). These goods and services providedby ecosystems are nevertheless essential for societies’ The humanitarian crisis: biosphere degradation dealssurvival and development. The ways we utilize anddistribute natural resources therefore have to be a heavy blow to the poorest peoplereshaped. Natural goods and services are currently exploited and distributed at the expense of the poorest populationIn the current demographic and economic setting, groups (MEA, 2005). The resulting unfair distributionpreservation of natural resources alone is not enough of profits further accelerates massive ecosystemto fulfil humans’ fundamental needs for goods and degradation. The poorest people are often obliged toservices. Global natural capital is actually already use highly environmentally destructive practices to 4 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  7. 7. The Focus The ecological footprint: the environmental impact of our lifestyles The ecological footprint concept was developed in the early 1990s by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel (1994) at the University of British Columbia. A gigantic log being cut up with a chainsaw near the San-Pédro The ecological footprint calculation can be used to estimate the logging harbour, Côte d’Ivoire. natural capital demand required by a given human population P Haeringer © IRD . to maintain its lifestyle. The calculation method is based on a reinterpretation of the carrying capacity concept while alsoprocure sufficient resources to meet their vital needs. taking the economic setting into account.The resulting depletion of natural resources quicklyamplifies the insecurity of these populations. In The carrying capacity refers to the maximum number ofdegraded environments in developing countries, users individuals of a species that a given habitat can support over anof the already rare resources cannot risk implementing indefinite period, e.g. the size of a human population living in anmore sustainable exploitation methods when they are isolated region. However, different regions inhabited by humanscompeting directly for increasingly scarce resources. cannot be taken as independent units since, via commercial trade, their economies have become globalized. The questionThis vicious circle is partially fuelled by economic of the quantity of individuals that a given region can sustain isglobalization and by the fact that resources have to therefore no longer relevant for human populations. Instead, thebe accessed from ever more remote areas. The richest question should be: What is the land and/or sea area requiredpopulations are no longer interested in resource to sustain a flow of resources to fulfil a population’s consumptionexploitation methods and their potential impacts on needs in a given region? This estimated land and/or sea areathe environment. However, this situation could be (regardless of where it is located) is the population’s ecologicalcorrected if: footprint. It is a physical measurement of the natural capital demand of a given population.• Methods are developed for economic assessment of the costs and benefits of an alternative approach The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is now promoting this to natural resource exploitation, conservation and measurement by offering anyone interested, in addition to other distribution. features, a tool to calculate their personal ecological footprint• Users (individuals or groups) are made accountable for online (http://footprint.wwf.org.uk) while also suggesting ways the resource, while being provided with the technical to reduce it. and financial means necessary to implement sustai- nable resource management methods. This ecological footprint concept is a good way to boost public• Resources are fairly redistributed so that the user will awareness on the environmental impact of our lifestyles and on get a return-on-investment. how precarious our situation is on Earth. For instance, in terms• Consumer resource accountability and awareness are of its global ecological footprint, humanity was using 1.2 times boosted worldwide. the Earth’s biocapacity in 2001 (WWF, 2004)!Restoring natural capital: an ecological and socioeconomic imperative 5
  8. 8. An extensive rangeland with a brown vertisol developed on calcareous shale. Erosion is due to overgrazing. New Caledonia. B. Bonzon © IRD6 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  9. 9. The restoration of natural capital (RNC) is thus Economic growth nowadays takes precedent over thea key strategy for dealing with these two crises. This preservation of natural ecosystems (de Groot, 1992),new approach is geared towards meeting ecological i.e. increasing production (or the ‘size’ of the economy)restoration objectives while enhancing the wellbeing leading to increased consumption (Daly and Farley,of human populations from a socioeconomic 2004). This political option is based mainly on the factstandpoint. RNC thus bridges the gap between the that biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation andimperatives of: (1) biodiversity conservation and economic development are generally considered to haveecosystem health protection, (2) short-term local independent and often conflictual interests. RNC—asproduction, (3) economic development on national we will see throughout this special issue—aims to pooland international scales, and (4) Sustainable local these a priori different interests. It meshes ecologicaleconomic development. restoration and sustainable development so as to tap the respective benefits of both approaches.Restoring natural capital: a focused response Around 40% of all emerged land on Earth is under threatEcologists, nature conservationists and economists all of desertification and acute poverty generally prevailshave different viewpoints on ecological restoration and in these areas (Requier-Desjardins and Caron, 2005).sustainable development goals. It is essential to come An approach aimed at restoring ecosystems as well asto a consensus on the definition and interpretation of the living standards of local people in arid and semiaridthese key terms so as to be able to effectively inform regions is therefore necessary. The concepts concerningcommunities and their representatives on the objectives natural capital and its restoration are outlined in theand impacts of current and future policies. following chapters. Focus Desertification and its impact on humans Increased population growth and insecurity also lead to heavy unsustainable exploitation of natural goods and services. The The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (1994) pressures placed on ecosystems disrupt the balance between defines the desertification process as “land desertification in the demand and the production of these goods and services, arid, semiarid and dry subhumid areas resulting from several thus forging conditions that are conducive to desertification. factors, including climatic variations and human activities.” However, the causes and processes responsible for Unpredictable climatic conditions (recurrent drought and desertification are variable. They depend on the worldwide irregular rainfall), combined with the need to immediately fulfil (global warming), regional (geographical and political area) local peoples’ food and energy needs (using practices that are and local (landuse practices and management) settings. ill-adapted for utilizing natural resources), generally leads to International directives, regional policies and local initiatives severe environmental degradation. This phenomenon includes are thus required to combat desertification. These three scales destruction of the plant cover (grazing areas converted to crop (global, regional and local) are tightly interdependent (MEA, land), a reduction in soil fertility, ecosystem modification and 2005). It is also crucial that initiatives implemented to solve an increase in conflicts to control natural resource management local problems be tailored specifically to local peoples’ demand (Requier-Desjardins, 2007; Requier-Desjardins and Caron, (needs, objectives, values). 2005).Restoring natural capital: an ecological and socioeconomic imperative 7
  10. 10. What is natural capital?T he natural capital concept was shaped in the late 1970s (Jurdant et al., 1977) and then further developed by Costanza and Daly (1992), and others. This concept is essentialin promoting environmental issues to ensure that theywill be taken into consideration in economic decision-making processes. The natural capital term also reflectsthe limiting role of natural resources and ecosystemsin peoples’ and nations’ socioeconomic development(Ekins et al., 2003). We will first explain the differenttypes of existing capital so as to fully clarify the term‘natural capital’.Different types of capitalThere are five types of capital (MEA, 2005): Renewable natural capital is the structure and1. Financial capital: money and its substitutes. composition of natural ecosystems which, through2. Manufactured capital: buildings, roads, and other their functioning, yield a flow of natural goods and human-produced, fixed assets. services to benefit humans. Replenishable natural3. Human capital: individual or collective efforts and capital corresponds to stocks of nonliving resources intellectual skills. that are constantly recycled via interactions with living4. Social capital: institutions, social relationships, social resources over long periods. Finally, cultivated natural networks, shared cultural beliefs and traditions. capital represents agroecological production systems5. Natural capital: an economic metaphor representing that are more or less self-sustaining, depending on the stock of natural resources from which goods how they are managed. and services upon which human societies depend are derived. There are four types of natural capital: For several decades now, the rate of natural capital (a) renewable natural capital (living species, utilization (degradation) has been greater than its ecosystems), (b) nonrenewable natural capital renewal rate. Processing this capital into manufactured (petroleum, coal, diamonds), (c) replenishable goods is gradually (but to an increasing extent) natural capital (the atmosphere, drinking water, destroying natural resource stocks and ensuing goods fertile soils) and (d) cultivated natural capital (crops and services. and forest plantations). Loss of natural capital can also lead to a concomitantNatural capital (as defined by Daly and Farley, 2004) decrease in social and human capital (Aronson et al.,thus includes all sustainable ecosystems and ecological 2007a). This is especially true in arid and semiaridlandscapes from which humans cull services and areas where the steady reduction in natural servicesproducts (goods) that enhance their wellbeing without resulting from desertification fosters outmigrationproduction cost. It should be noted that all cultivated and loss of affected peoples’ self-esteem, in additionnatural capital and manufactured capital stock derives to political conflicts (Requier-Desjardins and Caron,from renewable, replenishable or nonrenewable natural 2005).capital. 8 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  11. 11. Restoring natural capital: bridging the disciplinary and ideological divide between the natural and social sciences Source: Aronson et al., 2007b. Topics/ Extreme Neo- Contri- Viewpoints environ- classical butions mentalism economics of RNC to bridge the economy/ Wooded savanna with ecology termite mounds, Cameroon. divide F. Anthony© IRD Reconciling We are too Making individual numerous and choices and collective consuming too People based on needs and much (for the individual those of current wellbeing of other interests. and future species).The interdependence of these different types of capital generations.should be put forward in desertification control Steady-state Deeply pessimistic,efforts and RNC in general. The degradation of land Vision of the unless radical Optimistic, economicsand quality of life are indeed linked (MEA, 2005), as economic linear, that recognize changes have future deterministic. ecological limitsis their restoration. This interdependence must be taken place. to growth.contemplated in order to overcome the preconceptions Humans Humansthat prevail concerning these processes, which are Humans part Belonging to outside and Naturestumbling blocks to finding solutions to environmental of Nature Nature. of natural constitute socio-and socioeconomic problems. ecosystems. ecosystems. Multi-valuedNature conservation versus economic growth? Determining Utility value, because the material the value of Intrinsic value of determined economyNature conservation and restoring ecosystem health natural goods all living entities. by market depends onare conventionally viewed as being incompatible with and services prices. ecosystemor even contradictory to economic development goals. health.The following table underlines the contradictions that Biospheremay arise with a too narrow vision of ecology and Conducting Cost- respected on All living specieseconomy. This table also highlights the benefits of an standards and effectiveness, the basis of merit respect and standards of personal and sustainableapproach that combines ecological restoration and attention. conduct utility interest. socioeconomicsustainable development. It is now necessary to review wellbeing.the ideological differences between the economic Completegrowth and sustainable economic development Partial substitution substitution,concepts in order to understand the natural capital No substitution possible Capital natural and possible for natural betweenrestoration setting overall. These differences are substitution manufactured capital. natural anddiscussed in the following chapters. capital are manufactured complementary. capital.What is natural capital? 9
  12. 12. FocusElastic model: relationship between K: capitalnatural capital and growth W: per-capita income level K human K technical Step 1The production function has four factors: natural, technical,human and social. The income level W (represented by ☺)depends on the pooled quantity of the four capitals. In thisgraphic representation, the W level is ‘attached by elastics’at the tip of the four capital stock ‘pillars’, thus illustrating theproduction function W= f (N,T,H,S). K natural K social Step 2 K human K technicalThere are many known examples where growth is based onnatural capital consumption. In Africa, for instance, the croppingmethods used deplete the soils of their fertility and are generallynot tailored to meeting the needs of the growing population.Natural capital thus gradually declines, along with crop yields, Thresholduntil a specific threshold S is reached beyond which soil fertility, effect Sand especially yields, collapse. Step 3 K natural K socialThe soil becomes sterile beyond the S threshold. Farmers then K technicalfall into the unskilled labourer category and are obliged to seek Human K lossother work. The value of his/her human capital thus declines, i.e. linked withthe farmer can no longer make effective use of his/her knowledgeand experience (know-how, adapted sowing methods, etc.)— Threshold Outmigration,this negative externality reduces the natural capital to a level effect S shantytownsthat is insufficient for the farmer’s human capital, leading to aconcomitant reduction in income. Natural K Conclusion K social collapseThis representation highlights the fact that investment should bepromoted before the S threshold is reached, so as to halt natural Preserve natural capitalcapital depletion and stall progress towards the threshold— Invest in natural and alleviatethe social cost-effectiveness of such investment will be very capital povertysubstantial. These threshold phenomena induce nonlinearities inthe growth process, which are clearly hard to model. K human Source: Girault and Loyer, 2006. K natural K social10 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  13. 13. Developed countries Increasing Developing countries polarization and tension Too much Too little s consumption Con ue n ce consumption seq u eq en ns ce O s Co m e ut tco co Ou me High waste Poverty loads Malnutrition CO2 accumulation Disease Rat race The Depency Social economy Loss of desintegration self-esteem ts Information pa c Env divide l im iro n nta me e nta nm m li vi ro pa Changes in: Changes in: cts energy flows energy flows En material flows RNC material flows water quality water quality and quantity and quantity land use land use Processes Transitional phases Information flow The current economic system Source: Aronson et al., 2007b; Blignaut et al., 2007.Natural capital:a sustainable development limiting factorWe have seen earlier that human populations depend This diagram represents a simple model of the currenton goods tapped from ecosystems (wood, etc.), as well economic system, while highlighting the economicas natural services required for their survival and the divide between developed and developing countries.stability of their societies. These services are derived from Information concerning environmental changes andthe natural capital stock. Most of these services are free their impacts on our societies is not mainstreamedand nonproprietary, i.e. an individual’s consumption of a into the system. The RNC approach fosters this flowservice does not reduce the capacity of other individuals’ of information between developed and developingconsumption of this service (e.g. through an increase in countries and relative to the predominant globalprice or a reduction in access). Reference is sometimes economic system.made to global public goods (Requier-Desjardins andCaron, 2005). This public goods concept underlines The aim of the predominant economic system is tothe fact that the consumption of one good does not maximise individual consumption via economiclimit the consumption of others, and that the quality growth. This growth involves a physical increase inof the service does not decline as a function of the the rate at which the economy transforms naturalnumber of users (i.e. nonrivalry). In practice, because of resources into monetary value (manufactured capital)these different features, there are no economic signals and waste. Waste emission (or pollution) is notconcerning the reduction in ecosystem services (Farley accounted for in production costs, so it is currentlyand Daly, 2006). They have no current economic market more cost-effective to invest in natural capitalvalue (cf. above figure). depletion than restoration.What is natural capital? 11
  14. 14. Agriculture in Tunisia. Sorting dates harvested in southern Tunisia. V. Simonneaux © IRDContrary to economic growth, economic development The sustainable development concept fosters theinvolves an increase in peoples’ wellbeing and quality fulfilment of humans’ basic needs while preservingof life for a given level (constant rate) of natural natural services that are essential for life on Earthresource transformation. For sustainable economic (Kates et al., 2001). This concept incorporates thedevelopment: fact that our economy is limited by the functioning capacity of ecosystems within the biosphere. This does The rate of natural capital transformation into not mean, however, that peoples’ quality of life should manufactured capital should not exceed its renewal be relinquished in favour of nature conservation. To rate. the contrary, sustainable local economic development The quantity of waste emitted should not exceed the is correlated with the enhancement of local and natural absorption capacity of the biosphere (Daly, neighbouring peoples’ well being. 1990). To restore and improve relationships between humans and the natural environment, it is important to: dissociate economic growth (increase in the ‘size’ of the economy) and economic development (increase Focus in quality of life for a constant ‘size’ of the economy) concepts; take the functional limits of global ecosystems intoThe global public goods concept account.based on economic precepts Manufactured capital is no longer the limiting factorA global public good (GPG) is, for economists, a good that can for the economy—it is natural capital. By economicbe consumed by anyone—its consumption by one person will not reasoning, investment should be focused on thebe detrimental to that of other people (e.g. the air we breathe). limiting factor (Aronson et al., 2006a; Costanza andGPGs can be supplied by the private sector or by States, e.g. Daly, 1992) so, in society’s best interest, there shouldcrown forests are public goods which are managed by the States be heavy investment in restoring natural capital.that own them. Different methods for economic valuation of natural capital and associated goods and services have beenBiodiversity, i.e. some outstanding forests and sites, may also developed to promote this investment. These arebelong to private stakeholders who thus contribute to the covered in the chapter on the socioeconomic benefitsproduction of pubic goods. GPGs are goods whose products and of restoring natural capital in arid regions (pagecosts extend beyond geopolitical boundaries and generations. 18) but, as a prelude, the concepts underlying the implementation of natural capital restoration in arid Source: Requier-Desjardins and Caron, 2005. regions are described in the next chapter. 12 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  15. 15. On the outskirts of a village, a small-scale factory for making bricks from a mixture of clay, straw and water. The bricks are sun dried. Sikasso region, Mali. M. Dukhan © IRDWhat is natural capital? 13
  16. 16. What does restoringnatural capital involve?R estoring natural capital is a novel ma- nagement approach based on the inter- dependence between human wellbeing and ecosystem health. Restoring goods andservices associated with arid and semiarid environ-ments is essential in combating desertification.Restoring natural capital: ecosystem healthand human wellbeing in arid and semiarid environmentsRestoring natural capital (RNC) concerns all activitiesthat involve an increase or investment in natural capitalstock with the aim of boosting the flow of natural goodsand services, while also enhancing human wellbeing(Aronson et al., 2006). Like restoration ecology, RNC isgeared to improving ecosystem health and resilience(Clewell and Aronson, 2006, 2007), and addressing 1. Reduction in organic matter production and litterpeoples’ socioeconomic expectations. incorporation, leading to a reduction in the productivity and fertility of soils and ecosystems.RCN may include (but is not limited to): 2. Formation of a soil cap: a crust that forms on the surface of bare soils under the impact of rainfall and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; which hampers water and seed penetration in the sustainable ecological improvement of land subjected soil. to cultivation or any other management practice; 3. Formation of a biological crust of algae, lichen or moss promotion of sustainable biological resource use; whose effects resemble those of soil caps. setting up or enhancing socioeconomic activities and 4. Dry mechanical erosion due to sliding of particles habits that incorporate environmental considerations down slopes via gravity. This is the result of constant and sustainable natural capital management. ploughing on steep slopes. 5. Wind erosion.As already discussed, ecological restoration is aimed 6. Wind deposition: the formation of sand or clay dunesat recovering the productivity and enhancing the following wind erosion.biodiversity, stability and resilience of degraded 7. Water erosion.ecosystems. This can be done by restoring ecosystem 8. Anthropogenic salination: a phenomenon resultingfunctions (i.e. all goods and services). from ill-adapted irrigation, leading to soil sterilisation.It is hard to pinpoint exactly how these functions Restoring these functions is a complex process.affect the stability of human societies prior to their Conceptual working frameworks or models are availabledegradation. However, the extent of this impact to gain insight into the phenomenon and facilitatecould be determined by clarifying the effects after communication between different RNC stakeholders.social degradation has occurred. In arid and semiarid For instance, the TTRP model developed by Tongwayenvironments, Le Houérou (1995) listed eight ecological and Ludwig (2007a and b) has proven useful in solvingconsequences of desertification: environmental problems in Australia. 14 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  17. 17. Preparation of a field using the zaï technique in Yatenga province, Burkina Faso. The traditional zaï soil preparation technique involves digging small pits to recover small amounts of runoff water. Millet or sorghum seeds sown in these pits are more likely to germinate under irregular rainfall conditions. E. Hien © IRD Focus Examples of processes involved . Flow, storage, salinisation event . Seed germination and plant growth, mineralisation . Outflow to rivers, erosion TriggerTTRP model used to assess grassland . Grazing, burning, harvesting e.g. rainfall . Replenishing the seed bank,ecosystem functioning in semiarid regions Organic matter cycling . Physical obstruction, absorption processTongway and Ludwig designed a conceptual framework to facilitatethe restoration of grassland landscape functions in semiarid areas. Loss TransferThis so-called the trigger-transfer-reserve-pulse (TTRP) model is basedon two main features of semiarid regions: (i) high spatiotemporal eventheterogeneity in resource availability, and (ii) low unpredictable processrainfall conditions. ReserveThrough a series of simple steps, the TTRP model highlights certainprocesses involved in natural capital formation. It helps to identifythe most suitable level at which restoration could take place. eventA ‘trigger’ event like rainfall initiates the water transfer process: loss Pulseand reserve storage . If the water reserve is sufficient, plant growth, e.g. plantaccompanied by livestock production and microbial mineralisation, Diagram adapted growth from Tongway and Ludwig, 2007a.is initiated . Many biological, chemical and physical processesare then set in motion, such as organic matter formation, nitrogenfixation, carbon sequestration, microbial and macrofauna activitiesand soil nutrient transformation. Other biophysical processes such as the formation of vegetationThese processes promote an increase in natural capital, and its patches reduce moisture loss and promote its storage after a ‘trigger’transformation and recycling . The formation of soil pores and event .galleries by macrofauna, for instance, boosts water infiltrationand supply, while enhancing root and microbial respiration. Source: Tongway and Ludwig, 2007a and b.What does restoring natural capital involve? 15
  18. 18. Ecological restoration of ecosystem functions in Ecosystem services can be ranked in four generalarid and semiarid environments should be focused categories: ecological process regulation services,mainly on restoring water flows, soil fertility goods production services, dwelling/subsistenceand plant cover. Restoration projects associated provision services and cultural information orwith desertification control generally involve the benefit services.reintroduction of plants that are resistant to highsalinity, drought and heavy grazing. Several large- The following table, from the Millenium Ecosystemscale initiatives have failed, however, because the Assessment desertification synthesis report (MEA,managers overlooked problems associated with 2005), provides a list of key natural services in aridsoils and water flows. These managers also often do and semiarid regions.not take the socioeconomic conditions at the siteinto sufficient account (e.g. ‘green barrier’ projects The degradation and depletion of natural goodsimplemented in Algeria in the 1970s, Mainguet and and services has a clear socioeconomic costDumay, 2006). Ecological restoration is a complex for human populations—deterioration of theirprocess that requires the involvement of many living conditions. To increase these services, it ispeople often with very different views concerning necessary to financially evaluate: (1) the impact ofrestored ecosystems and sometimes conflicting their degradation, and (2) the costs and benefitsinterests (SER, 2002). Each restoration project should associated with projects implemented for sustainabletherefore be designed and planned according to ecosystem restoration (Requier-Desjardins, 2007;the local setting. It is absolutely essential that local Requier-Desjardins, Bied-Charreton M., 2006).people participate in and support RNC projects to This can be done by measuring the quantity andensure their success. Boosting public awareness on quality of ecosystem goods and services. Note thatthe benefits of restoration will help promote such the expression ‘measuring natural capital stock’ islocal involvement (SER, 2002). used in this respect to facilitate discussion between ecologists and economists. Background conceptsWhen setting up RNC projects, it is important concerning the financial valuation of natural capitalto stress the mutual benefits of this restoration are discussed in the following chapter.for humans and the environment, beginning by Key dryland ecosystem servicesdefining and communicating concepts pertainingto natural goods and services. Source: MEA, 2005.Ecosystem goods and services in arid Provisioning Regulating Cultural services services servicesand semiarid regions • Provisions derived • Water purification • Recreation andHuman populations living in arid and semiarid from biological and regulation tourism productivity: food, • Pollination and • Cultural identityregions are especially dependent on ecosystem fiber, forage, seed dispersal and diversitygoods and services to fulfil their basic needs. fuelwood, and • Climate regulation • Cultural landscapesInhabitants get most of their income by tapping biochemicals (local through and heritage valuesnatural resources, with very little coming from • fresh water vegetation cover • Indigenousthe sale of manufactured products. These people and global knowledge systemsare thus highly dependent on natural capital and through carbon sequestration) • Spiritual, aestheticaffected by climate change (Requier-Desjardins, and inspirational2007). For instance, cereal, livestock, milk, fuelwood servicesand construction material production depends on Supporting servicesplant productivity, which in turn is dependent onwater supplies. • Soil development (conservation, formation) • Primary production • Nutrient cycling 16 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  19. 19. ExampleRestoring natural capitalin tiger bush areas in AustraliaA project was carried out from 1996 to 2007 to restore naturalcapital in semiarid regions of New South Wales, Australia. Themain aim was to restore a steady-state productive ecosystemso as to ensure the economic viability of local farms (livestockfarming). This required the restoration of grassland functionsjointly according to ecological and economic principles.A natural ‘tiger bush’ landscape prevails in this region. Thistype of ecosystem is also found in West Africa and Mexicoand landscape consists of bands of vegetation, where strips ofwoody or grassy zones are separated by bare soil. In this unique A landscape with mulga felled by chaining in strips along contours tolandscape structure, resources (especially water) are optimally enhance resource capture and repair damaged country.distributed, so they can be highly productive. Source: Ecological Restoration, by Andre F. Clewell and James Aronson. Copyright © 2007 by the authors. Reproduced with the permission of Island Press, Washington, DC, USA.This banded landscape is degraded by livestock trampling and A natural capital restoration project was developed in agreementovergrazing, especially close to artificially supplied watering with herd owners with the aim of stopping the desertification processpoints where herds traverse and graze daily. Tiger bush functional under way. It was based on the TTRP model described in the boxprocesses thus gradually stall, which then hampers water storage on page 15. The project had to be readily applicable, inexpensivein the soil and promotes environmental desertification. Finally, and compatible with farmers’ practices. The project coordinatorsthese rangelands become very unproductive and colonized by thus decided to rehabilitate the basic functions of this ecosystem inlow feed value ephemeral plant species that suddenly spring up a test zone modeled on the ecological and hydrological processesafter occasional rains. prevailing in the non-degraded zone. The dominant plant in the woody band, i.e. mulga (Acacia aneura), was used to recover theThe two following photographs illustrate a functional tiger bush physical structure of the ecosystem in a test zone. Mulga brancheslandscape where the natural capital is formed and stored, as were piled in bands across the landscape contours in an attempt towell as a degraded landscape in which the natural capital has capture materials leached by rainfall and blown by the wind. Thisbeen lost through soil erosion and plant mortality. led to artificial recovery of the woody band. A new perennial plant population began growing on the accumulated captured material. These plants, which were partially protected by the spiny mulga plant structure, were subsequently able to survive despite the usual grazing pressure. Ten years later, the density of the plant cover and the soil properties were recovered in the test zone. This success in reestablishing the plant cover also meant that the seed pool in the soil was not limited. Herders sometimes chopped mulga branches in order to reduce competition for soil nutrients between this species and those grazed by livestock. The herders could thus easily tailor their feed storage methods by grazing their livestock on chopped mulga branches in degraded areas. This technique also enhanced pasture production. This photo shows a landscape in which much less water is stored in thesoil over time. Desertification is under way and all of the trees will ultimately This study highlighted that a slight modification in managementdisappear. Grassland areas are dominated by ephemeral species with alow feed value that grow quickly after a rainfall. The ecosystem is completely practices can sometimes be efficient. Simply laying mulga branchesdysfunctional and the natural capital is eventually lost (through plant mortality in bands across landscape contours was found to be effective inor soil erosion). capturing resources and reversing the desertification process. This was economically beneficial for herders while preserving/increasingSource: Ecological Restoration, by Andre F. Clewell and James Aronson. Copyright © 2007 by theauthors. Reproduced with the permission of Island Press, Washington, DC, USA. biodiversity. Source: Tongway and Ludwig, 2007a and b.What does restoring natural capital involve? 17
  20. 20. Socioeconomic benefitsof restoring natural capitalin arid regionsT he economic, social and environmental cost of desertification is very hard to evaluate and few studies have focused on this topic (Requier- Desjardins, 2007). The socioeconomic aspectsof natural capital restoration in areas affected bydesertification are thus generally outlined here, whilegiving examples illustrating RNC methods that may beapplied within the specific framework of desertificationcontrol.Monetary assessment of natural capitaland its restorationTwo types of approach can be adopted to determinethe economic soundness of degraded ecosystemrestoration projects prior to their implementation:(1) assessment of the degradation cost, and (2)assessment of the restoration costs and benefits. Approaches resembling those implemented in the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment are used to anCSFD issue n°5 (Requier-Desjardins, 2007) reviews increasing extent for assessing ecosystem servicesdifferent desertification macroeconomic cost valuation from an economic vantage point within the frameworkmethods that have been applied to assess situations in of local RNC projects.Africa. For instance, to valuate the reduction in cropproductivity in monetary terms, a cost assessment was Natural capital is still not easy to quantify from aconducted in Mali on applying commercial fertilizers monetary standpoint. Many natural services do notto replace lost soil nutrients. This method is only have a ‘price’, in a figurative sense, since they arerelevant if the natural capital can be replaced by a essential for life on Earth, or in a literal sense, sincemanufactured substitute, which of course has its they have no economic market value. For reasons thatlimits. we have already discussed, including nonexclusiveness and nonrivalry, monetary valuation of most naturalAnother method outlined in the Millenium Ecosystem capital and its restoration is incompatible withAssessment (MEA, 2003) consists of valuating the cost conventional economic theories. However, humansof desertification as a function of divisions of rural area have always placed a value on some aspects of nature,according to their main economic uses (agriculture, including natural services. These ‘nonmonetary’forestry, etc.). This basically involves determining the values could thus be entrenched in economic marketcost of a loss of natural services in terms of food and laws (Rees et al., 2007), for instance through thefuelwood procurement. These assessment methods are creation of a fictive market (contingent valuation),relatively inaccurate because they are based on highly or by taking the economic cost of pollution intovariable reference prices and very simple models, but account (internalization of externalities) (Requier-they are still useful in providing relatively convincing Desjardins, 2007).arguments in favour of natural capital restoration. 18 Restoring Natural Capital in Arid and Semiarid Regions
  21. 21. Focus Economics and ecosystems: calculating the GDP GDP is probably the most important economic indicator used by finance ministries worldwide. It represents the total revenue (pay, salary, interest) generated via the production of goods and services in one year. Although it is widely interpreted as being a quality of life indicator, GDP is actually a narrow concept that simply represents a measurement of the total economic activity over a given period. GDP has been substantially criticized by environmental analysts and theorists because it just measures the ‘good’ but not the ‘bad’ aspects associated with production, which means that it does not indicate whether the economy is evolving in a sustainable way (Source: de Groot, 1992, quoted from Hamilton, 1990). Millet crop fields in Niger. P Blanchon © IRD . Only a few economic indicators are used to measure GDP. These indicators are mainly used to measure manufactured goods and services, whereas natural goods and services are not taken into consideration. Even worse, an increase in quality of life as determined by such indicators often occurs to the detriment ofRestoring social capital: natural goods and services. Environmental degradation shouldan essential complement to RCN thus be taken into account in national accounting systems, e.g. through GDP deductions. There is not yet any internationalTo ensure that ecological aspects will be accounted for in consensus on this topic despite the work of many specialistseconomic planning and decision making, i.e. applying (UN, World Bank) over the last two decades.economic principles where nature counts (Aronson et al.,2007a), new indicators should be developed to highlight Source: de Groot, 1992; Marais et al., 2007;the interdependency between ecosystem health and Requier-Desjardins, 2007.peoples’ quality of life (de Groot, 1992).According to the RNC approach, social capital is Ecosystem degradation is giving rise to ever moreconsidered to increase concomitantly with natural serious socioeconomic issues (MEA, 2005), while thecapital. The aim is to convince local people to accept relationship between the quality of environmentalmodifications in natural resource management goods and services and the quality of life of humanmethods. RNC should preferentially address local populations is increasingly evident. Novel systems fordemand rather than being a response to national calculating peoples’ wellbeing based on economic,directives. social and ecological features have been developed. The environmental quality index (de Groot, 1992), asMeasuring the wellbeing of human populations is well as the wellbeing index (WI), are new indicators thatoften erroneously equated with calculating the gross demonstrate how peoples’ quality of life declines withdomestic product (GDP). Although GDP is an excellent ecosystem quality. In this setting, people recognizeindicator of the ‘size’ of a national economy, it is that their wellbeing and the future development of theircompletely irrelevant as a quality of life or wellbeing societies are closely dependent on proper ecosystemindicator (Prescott-Allen, 2001). functioning (Prescott-Allen, 2001).Socioeconomic benefits of restoring natural capital in arid regions 19

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