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Natural Resource Management

The world’s natural capital -- water, land, forests, soil, wildlife, and fisheries -- safeguards and underpins the health and well-being of billions of people. In low-income countries, in particular, populations rely on these resources for half of all wealth. The changing climate increases the importance of sustainable natural resource management, which often bolsters resilience. At the same time, natural resources are subject to additional stress from the extreme weather conditions associated with climate change.

Extreme weather events can disrupt natural resource management by damaging ecosystems both on land and water. Changes in weather patterns also shift suitable habitat for many species. These conditions lead to new challenges for land managers, and can lead to disputes about land tenure and water management systems. Heightened insecurity and unpredictability result in land degradation through overgrazing, deforestation, wildlife poaching, and ineffective watershed management. Together, these impacts threaten long-term economic growth, livelihood opportunities, and the ecosystem services that support human well-being.

Climate risk management for natural resource management can help to mitigate the impact of climate change and to build local capacity for resilience. Securing rights to land and resources can foster stewardship and provide individuals and communities with the incentive to conserve the natural capital that generates livelihoods. Restoring lands and the ecological conditions they require can buffer ecosystems and protect the services they provide.

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ProLand

ProLand supports USAID Missions to improve land use management using a systems approach to resilient development that integrates ecological, economic, and governance aspects. Using primary and secondary research, ProLand develops and disseminates evidence-based guidance around best management practices for sustainably intensifying land use. 

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Efforts are underway to secure land titles for community members who want to access the irrigation system. Proof of land ownership is required to gain access to irrigated water.
3 ways USAID helps El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change
Rwanda is among the smallest countries in mainland Africa, roughly the size of Maryland with twice the population. Less land area means harder decisions, such as balancing land allocated for agriculture versus areas designated for forest conservation.