Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sustainable Practices in Watershed Management: Global Experiences

Menon, Sudha (2007): Sustainable Practices in Watershed Management: Global Experiences.

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Watershed management is considered by scholars as well as practitioners across the world as the most appropriate approach to ensure the preservation, conservation and sustainability of all land based resources and for improving the living conditions of the people in uplands and low lands. More over watershed management technologies have proven to be effective for mitigating erosion on sloping land, stabilizing landscapes, providing clean water, stabilizing and improving agrarian production systems on small and medium scale. The degree of success of watershed management interventions primarily depends on the will of the people and the scale of activities involved in it.

A watershed can be defined as a catchment or drainage basin. It refers to an area which has a ridgeline on three sides and whose surplus run-off is drained from a drainage point. Watershed management is the art and technique of managing watershed resources in way that maximum benefits can be derived from them without affecting the ecological sustainability. Watershed management requires an integration of all scientific knowledge from many disciplines and a combination of technologies, strategies and techniques with the development and use of available tools. Watershed management is a holistic concept, which tries to integrate several components like soil and water conservation, forestry development, agriculture and livestock. It tries to bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural resources on the one side, and human and other living beings on the other. Recently, participation of people has become a core component of watershed management programmes. As FAO [Food and Agricultural Organization] rightly remarked, “The pendulum appears to be swinging in support of empowerment of people with regard to conservation of natural resources. Application of the integrated participatory approach has created, in some instances, social environments where varied cultures are working together to manage their natural resources on watersheds” . Thus, the process of stakeholder centric watershed management programme has provided a stimulus for the recovery and valuation of traditional practices resulting in a mix of ancient and current natural resource management practices.

Against this context the present paper attempts to present certain specific models of sustainable watershed management successfully implemented in different parts of the world. The objective of the paper is to explore the methods, tools and strategies involved in these sustainable models.

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