Sustainable Land Management – Central to improved well-being
Climate change affects small and marginal farmers more as they are not necessarily able to adapt to the changing climes effectively. Many farmers from across many small rural villages in the country have noticed erratic rainfall patterns that make it difficult to follow the traditional farming calendars. They have also noticed that their crops are susceptible to different pests and diseases as a result of these changes. Many farmers have said that the heavy rains wash away their soil on the one hand and water shortages on the other.
Tarayana Foundation in collaboration with National Soil Service Centre conducted a three-day training for trainers on Sustainable Land Management – raising awareness on issues of climate change in September at Tsirangtoe Gewog, Tsirang Dzongkhag. With the increasing pressure in land use, sustainable land management ensures the long term sustainability of ecosystem services and livelihoods while addressing the issues of climate change.
A total of twelve staff members including field as well as some programme officers along with six community members from Tarayana sites of Trongsa, Wangdue and Samtse traveled to Tsirang to attend the training. It was an opportunity for the participants to gain a better understanding of climate change impacts and local solution seeking potentials by involving all local stakeholders. The community members were trained as trainers so that they could assist the field officers in carring out better land and water management initiatives in their own villages.
Sixty-three participants including the Foundation’s staff attended the theoretical and pictorial presentation by the focal persons Mr. Haka and Mr. Chenga on the first day. The pictorial presentation helped the focal persons to convey their messages regarding climate change issues as the picture stories were easier for the villagers to understand and interpret.
The following two days of the training included hands-on training for the participants to better relate to the problems caused by climate change and some of the solutions to prevent land degradation and loss of top soil through surface run-off. The practical training included planting Napier grass to help prevent soil erosion, introduction to ‘A frame’ to make contoured hedgerows to convert steep slopes into terraces and the construction of check dams with logs, stones and bamboo.
The participants from Tarayana made use of the acquired skills and have replicated the efforts in their own work sites. Several sustainable land management initiatives have been taken up along with the construction of check dams. In a short period of time, these exercises have resulted in transformed village landscapes as the communities of many of our villages worked together to construct check-dams where necessary and also took up hedgerow preparation and tree planting enthusiastically.