Transforming Landscapes – Transforming Lives: the business of sustainable water buffer management

A brand new book about sustainable land management, the development of water buffers and the business case underneath it. As part of the discussion on the green economy it shows that investments in natural resource management make sense business-wise. While the parameters for investments in land, water and vegetation cover may be different – and returns may not always be immediate – both the financial payback and the economic dividend of investments in integrated landscapes, when done properly, are rewarding. As investments in sustainable land and water buffers will transform lives and economies, the social impact will become important. A buffer gives a sense of security and the reassurance that one’s livelihood is secured – something sought-after in a world of growing stress and climate change risks.


acrobat_icon Transforming Landscapes – Transforming Lives: the business of sustainable water buffer management


2011.08_Transforming_LandscapesThis publication by MetaMeta (Frank van Steenbergen and Lenneke Knoop) and Acacia Water (Albert Tuinhof) has been made possible by a generous contribution from IFAD. It was also supported by the Netherlands National Committee IHP-HWRP, as a contribution to the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO and the Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) of WMO.


From the foreword:

»Water is key to food security. We will not achieve global food security without water security. The integrated management of land and water buffers – the theme of this publication – is pivotal here. This book provides three important messages.

The first message is that we need to get to scale. Scale is not the sum total of many small things, but the transformation of landscapes, the soil and water processes underneath, the micro-climates, and in fact entire economies. This requires new but tested governance systems and business models – that are based on the quantum benefits that integrated landscape management can bring. We need to get away from isolated interventions and single investments with their single rates of return. We need wholesale change.

The second message is that if we want to manage land and water we should not ‘divide and rule’ the water, but we should make stronger more resilient buffers and extend the chain of water uses. This must include ‘recharge, retention and reuse (3R)’, and a better appreciation of the links between land, moisture, groundwater, rivers. There are techniques that work well in some places but are not yet known everywhere or applied in an appropriate way. This book describes several of these. There is large promise here.

The final message is that buffer management should be an intricate part of green growth. The examples in this book make the point of ‘more environment, more economy’ and also ‘more economy, more environment’ and this means in the end: improved livelihoods. In a world of growing stress and climate change risks integrated landscape and water management offers jobs, better chances for young people, safer livelihoods, more environmental services and more economic opportunities.«

Kevin Cleaver, Associate Vice-President Programmes, IFAD
Alexander Mueller, Assistant Director-General Natural Resource Management and Environment, FAO


» More about 3R on the BeBuffered website.