Biosphere Reserves for sustainable water- and resource efficient regional development in Egypt

Analysis of ecosystem-based farming as holistic, water and resource efficient production model for land reclamation in desert areas

In Egypt, there is a strong need for sustainable, water efficient farming systems and land reclamation models to provide food for a rapidly growing population on scarce arable land. Ecosystem-based land use systems such as biodynamic agriculture could provide sustainable solutions, which enable self-sufficient settlements within these formerly deserted areas. This project aims to conduct a detailed analysis of the ecosystem-based approach to identify its success factors, weaknesses and strategies that were used to overcome them in order to make them available for replication. It will further provide a concept to include them into a potential Biosphere Reserve as model site for sustainable water- and resource efficient regional development in Egypt.

BRs are model regions to promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use on a regional scale. Egypt has currently two Biosphere Reserves, both belonging to the warm desert and semi-desert biome. Many BRs in dryland areas are suffering from problems such as unsustainable water use and encroachment of ecologically sensitive areas by farming. The key to their sustainable land management and to conflict resolution is therefore the development of ecosystem-based, water and resource efficient farming systems. Biodynamic farming offers the opportunity to directly respond to some of the main threats of Biosphere Reserves in drylands with its holistic, soil and water conserving approach.

BRs are model regions to promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use on a regional scale. Egypt has currently two Biosphere Reserves, both belonging to the warm desert and semi-desert biome. Many BRs in dryland areas are suffering from problems such as unsustainable water use and encroachment of ecologically sensitive areas by farming. The key to their sustainable land management and to conflict resolution is therefore the development of ecosystem-based, water and resource efficient farming systems. Biodynamic farming offers the opportunity to directly respond to some of the main threats of Biosphere Reserves in drylands with its holistic, soil and water conserving approach. Biosphärenreservate sind Modellregionen um Biodiversitätsschutz auf einer regionalen Ebene mit nachhaltiger Nutzung abzustimmen. Ägypten hat momentan zwei Biosphärenreservate, beide im Bereich der warmen Halbwüsten und Wüsten. Viele BR in Wüstengebieten leiden unter Problemen wie Übernutzung von Wasserressourcen und Eindringen von Landwirtschaft in ökologisch sensible Gebiete. Die Entwicklung ökosystembasierter, wasser-und ressourceneffizienter Landnutzungssysteme ist daher ein Schlüssel zu nachhaltigem Landmanagement und Konfliktlösung in diesen Gebieten. Biodynamische Landwirtschaft ermöglicht einige dieser Hauptgefährdungen von Biosphärenreservaten in Trockengebieten direkt mit einem ganzheitlichen, boden- und wasserschonenden Ansatz anzugehen.

BRs offer a suitable framework for experimenting with water and resource efficient land use systems and for scaling them up. BRs have a strong focus on education and thrive to be learning sites for sustainable development. They could be ideal partners in establishing model regions for sustainable land reclamation from the desert and its management by combining education for sustainable development programs and implementation of pilot projects and supporting upscaling initiatives. If the details of land reclamation through biodynamic farming are thoroughly understood, this concept could be transferred to such a region. It would subsequently be highly useful to develop a BR starting from the stakeholders’ initiatives for sustainable land use in the transition zone.

 

Project coordination: Kirsten Meuer, kirsten.meuer(at)succow-stiftung.de