Ecosystem services and small-holder farming practices -between payments, development support and right- an integrated approach (ILMI Working paper 10)

Author: Kuhn, Nikolaus

Small-scale farmers in north-central Namibia face numerous challenges, ranging from low crop yields, high rainfall variability and land degradation which is threatening the long-term productivity of the land, to social changes that are reducing the work force available for farming. This paper aims to assess existing land use practices (LUPs) and to determine their relationship to ecosystem services (ES). As agriculture (crop and livestock farming) is the dominant land use in northern Namibia, it is the main driver influencing environmental services and will be in the focus here. We suggest ways of combining an improvement of provisioning services (especially food production and thus livelihoods of small-scale farmers) together with regulating services (e.g. climate regulation through carbon storage and soil fertility conservation) to create multiple benefits at the landscape level. In addition to identifying suitable LUPs, we argue that any activity trying to improve ES should count on the already existing initiatives and interventions and look for synergies and complementarities.