Land is a notion which broadly includes climate, topography, vegetation, soils and other natural resources – is the basis for agriculture, and the interaction between these components is vital for determining the productivity and sustainability of agro-ecosystems. Especially in the face of climate change and variability, selecting the right land uses for given biophysical and socio-economic conditions is essential for minimizing land degradation, rehabilitating degraded land, ensuring the sustainable use of land resources, and maximizing resilience.
Cropland is land used for the cultivation of crops, both temporary (annuals) and permanent (perennials), and may include areas periodically left fallow or used as temporary pasture. Permanent meadows and pastures are land used for livestock grazing. They include both managed and natural pastures, as well as a range of land cover types used for rangelands, such as grassy and woody savannahs.
Land conversion from natural ecosystems to agriculture has historically been the largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions), linked to loss of biomass and carbon in biomass above and below ground. Today, land conversion to agriculture continues to be a major driver of biodiversity loss and land degradation. Efficient land use and land management plans and strategies are needed to maximize crop productivity while minimizing the potential environmental impact due to excessive loss of habitats and overuse of natural resources such as soils and water.
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