Sustainable land management

When resource are degraded, we start competing for them... So one way to promote peace is to promote sustainable management and equitable distribution of resources.”
Wangari Maathai 

How does sustainable land management pay off?


Sustainable land management is “the use of land resources, including soils, water, animals and plants, for the production of goods to meet changing human needs, while simultaneously ensuring the long-term productive potential of these resources and the maintenance of their environmental functions” (UN Earth Summit, 1992).

SLM is a portfolio of possible technologies, practices, and approaches to land management that are implementable at the local scale; and involves all relevant and affected stakeholders and their needs in a participatory manner (ELD, Value of Land, 2015).

The returns on investment from ecosystem restoration are high – 50% for tropical forests, 20% for other forests, 42% for shrublands, and 79% for grasslands over a 40-year time period. Adopting sustainable land management could deliver up to US$ 1.4 tr in increased crop production.

ELD works to show that investing in SLM pays off. ​​​​​We are working on the investment portfolio for nature.

Value of SLM

In all ELD studies to date, the benefits of taking action have proven to be more rewarding economically than the costs of inaction.

  1. Adopting sustainable land management could deliver up to USD 1.4 trillion in increased crop production.
  2. The returns on investment from ecosystem restoration are high – 50% for tropical forests, 20% for other forests, 42% for shrublands, and 79% for grasslands over a 40 year time period.
  3. Taking action against nutrient loss caused by soil erosion over 105 million hectares would save up to USD 62.4 billion in net present value over the next 15 years. The estimate is based on an ELD study conducted across 42 countries in Africa.
  4. Enhancing Carbon stocks through soils can create value up to USD 480 billion.

Read the ELD Value of Land report 

Our work

  • SLM pays off in Africa

    ELD has conducted numerous case studies in Africa to demonstrate that investing in sustainable land management pays off. 

    We have collected some highlights from our case studies in Africa which show the various benefits of different SLM practices. Learn more


  • SLM pays off in Asia

    ELD shows that investing in sustainable land management in Asia pays off. 

    Take a look at some of our work highlighting the benefits of SLM practices in regional reports and case studies across the continent. Learn more


ELD 6+1 step approach

The ELD 6+1 step approach enables users to undertake scientifically sound cost-benefit analyses to inform decision-making processes. It can be applied at different scales and scopes, with the aim to achieve a more holistic assessment of the value of different land use options (Noel and Soussan, 2010; ELD Initiative, 2013) for all stakeholders.

ELD Campus

The ELD CAMPUS offers a high-quality learning and teaching toolkit for the valuation of ecosystem services. The ELD Campus is now available in English, French and Russian. This free and openly accessible resource can be used at of all levels in all fields of scientific background.


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