SLM-30806 Land Degradation & Development


Studiepunten 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. CA Kessler
Lecturer(s)dr. V Geissen
dr. ir. CA Kessler
dr. JEM Schild
MSc R. Teixeira da Silva
dr. ir. L Fleskens
Examiner(s)dr. ir. CA Kessler

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Relevant BSc, SLM-10306 Land Degradation and Remediation or equivalent course.

Continuation courses:

SLM-31306 Fundamentals of Land Management.


Land degradation is a major threat to sustainable development and food security in many parts of the world. Interventions that aim at tackling the root causes of land degradation and at fostering sustainable land management are now more than ever essential. In this course students learn how land managers and policy makers plan, implement and assess interventions for sustainable land management, with a special focus on developing countries and the challenge of achieving widespread sustainable impact. The lectures are divided in five blocks: 1) land degradation and soil threats; 2) land management interventions and impact; 3) assessing impact of land degradation and SLM; 4) using GIS for land degradation and development; 5) towards widespread impact and development. The course starts with deepening the understanding of land degradation threats and processes, with special focus on Europe and current soil threats. Next, focus shifts to the role of stakeholders in land management interventions – from farmers to policy makers – and how their involvement affects sustainable impact and contributes to (local and global) development. This is followed by lectures and practical assignments to learn how to assess impact of land management interventions (e.g. multi-criteria analysis, cost-benefit analysis). Furthermore, during a practical assignment of 2 weeks students will get acquainted with the use of GIS for erosion and land management, and how this knowledge can be used for designing strategies for land management interventions. By the end of the course students will have obtained essential knowledge and skills that are needed by project managers or land use planners in any development project, and understand the essence to achieve widespread impact in sustainable land management.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the physical aspects, drivers and processes related to land degradation;
- explain the main factors that affect adoption and final impact of land management interventions;
- assess physical and socioeconomic impact of land degradation and land management practices;
- judge land management interventions and how these can achieve sustainable impact;
- apply evaluation methods, such as cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis;
- apply GIS for assessing the physical impact of land management practices;
- debate strategies and policies that foster sustainable land management.


- lectures and studying reading material (papers);
- practical sessions for learning hands-on tools for land management;
- GIS practical assignment.


- written examination (70%);
- reports of the practical assignments (30%).
All parts need to be passed with at least 5.5.


Selected Journal articles and a guide for the GIS practical.

Verplicht voor: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScA: Sustainable Land Management2MO
Keuze voor: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScD: Flexible Configurations for Innovative Minds