Standing on climate resilient ground: adaptation, effective soil protection and rehabilitation

How soil protection and rehabilitation support climate change adaptation


Adaptation to climate change is a major challenge for smallholder farmers and agro-pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa as changes in climatic conditions are already eroding livelihoods while households face numerous barriers to responding effectively (access to finance, technology, knowledge). Healthy and fertile soils are a critical element for resilient agriculture. Many climate risks such as damages caused by floods or droughts manifest in the intersection of soils and water.

Building on experience from Benin and Ethiopia, this white paper delivers key messages from the session Standing on climate resilient ground: Adaptation effective soil protection and rehabilitation held during GLF Climate 2022: Frontiers of Change and which shows how soil protection and rehabilitation supports climate change adaptation and what is needed for scaling and sustaining impact.

Message 1 – Healthy soils are fundamental for climate-resilient agricultural and pastoral livelihoods

Message 2 – Soil protection and rehabilitation are effective adaptation options with a multitude of co-benefits for people and the environment

Message 3 – Effective adaptation requires that adaptation actions are feasible in the local context

Message 4Innovations in input and service delivery as well as legal frameworks are needed to achieve sustained impact at scale


Water Spreading Weirs from above. © GIZ/Klaus Wohlmann


A multistakeholder approach to soil protection and rehabilitation


In the context of the global programme Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security (ProSoil) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a series of multistakeholder workshops were conducted across seven partner countries. The approach drew on the experience of different stakeholder groups and facilitated an exchange between them which helped to develop implementation paths for soil protection and rehabilitation. 


  • Implementation Pathway 1 – Dry valley rehabilitation in the Ethiopian Lowlands: ProSoil is focusing on a dry valley rehabilitation approach to re-green the intervention sites, using soil and water conservation methods such as water-spreading weirs and dry-stone measures, which are technologies promoted within the regional plan for climate change adaptation.
  • Implementation Pathway 2 – Scaling up sustainable soil management in Benin: ProSoil promotes a range of practices directly geared towards countering climate impacts such as advocating for drought-tolerant crops, short-cycle varieties, and staggered sowing. This is complemented by soil and water conservation techniques and agroforestry. Over 80% of the 159,000 farmers trained by ProSoil apply these techniques on their farms.



Author: Patrick Smytzek, Anna-Lena Rittner, Carola Jacobs, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Sophia Lüttringhaus, HFFA Research and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Publisher: Global Landscapes Forum

Language: English

Year: 2022

Ecosystem(s): Agricultural Land

Location(s): Benin, Ethiopia

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