An economic valuation of a large-scale rangeland restoration project through the Hima system in Jordan

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June 2014
Vanja Westerberg, Moe Myint
Economics of Land Degradation (ELD)

Jordanian rangelands are a source of valued livestock produce, carbon storage, biodiversity, and medicinal plants. They also serve as watersheds that receive rainfall, yield surface water, and replenish groundwater throughout the area east and south of the western Jordan highlands. Appropriate land management, which is currently lacking, can protect and maximise these services for society. With the acceleration of desertification, land degradation and drought during the twenty-first century in the arid and semi-arid regions of Jordan, these services are becoming jeopardised. It is therefore increasingly urgent to define and pursue viable strategies to reverse this trend. One approach which is gaining increasing attention in Jordan is the ‘Al-Hima’ land management system. This is a historical and traditional system of land management in the Arab region that encourages the sustainable, shared use of common resources amongst relevant communities.

To inform the debate surrounding this approach, this paper presents an ex-ante cost-benefit analysis of large-scale rangeland restoration through the Hima system within the Zarqa River Basin, drawing on experience from a pilot initiative by IUCN and the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) since 2010. The ecosystem services that arise from rangeland restoration are valued using a combination of stated preference, avoided costs, replacement cost and market prices approaches. The economic analysis has built on high-resolution remote sensing, GIS, and biophysical soil and water assessment tools, and was elaborated to rigorously calibrate the impact of land use changes on forage availability, groundwater infiltration, carbon sequestration, and sediment stabilisation.


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