…degraded watersheds are among the greatest constraints to sustainable development in the developing world. The need for the careful management and sustainable use of watersheds has never been greater…Watershed degradation in many developing countries threatens the livelihood of millions of people and constrains the ability of countries to develop a healthy agricultural and natural resource base.
(FAO Factsheet, 2000)
Integrated Watershed Management
Advancing degradation in upland areas often produces its most severe consequences in midland or lowland areas. The search for lasting improvements therefore requires a vision and a strategy that goes beyond the support of individual farm households and communities.
The “Integrated Watershed Management“ approach seeks to rehabilitate and optimize the management of soil and water resources within given catchment areas for the benefit of present and future generations.
To improve the quality of rural development and disaster prevention activities, the Integrated Watershed Management approach stresses the importance of working “ridge to bottom” and to pay special attention on reducing speed and amount of superficial water run off. For successful watershed restoration a solid understanding about what kind of land use options can be regarded as suitable and appropriate for different parts of the watershed is essential.
In line with the guiding principles for successful watershed management, natural resource management and disaster risk reduction related projects operating in mountainous areas neeed among other to pay high attention on the rehabilitation and sound management of remote high alitude areas.
Adequate community participation during planning and implementation- as well as for the monitoring of evaluation of watershed restoration activities is crucial.