Analysis of recent land management initiatives in Nicaragua from the perspective of the "ecosystem approach"

In the world there are approximately 608 million farms, of which 84% are small farms and produce 35% of the food of the world population. Training programs have been promoted by different organizations to achieve a more sustainable and efficient agricultural practice. Within this context, this article has classified a set of smallholders located in central Nicaragua with regard to how they apply Land Use Management Initiatives (LUMI). The aim is to outline their weaknesses and strengths and thus identify key elements that can contribute to improving soil resource management. We focus on the LUMI carried out in Nicaragua in the municipalities of El Tuma-La Dalia, El Cu´a and Waslala between 1992 and 2022. To conduct this study, eight LUMI were identified and analysed, and 25 indicators linked to the Malawi Principles were extracted and selected for the design of a survey in order to collect land use management information from 455 farms in the study area. Simple random sampling was used to select the farms. Subsequently, the collected data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Multivariate Analysis techniques. The results reveal that in the study area, the LUMI incorporate between one and five Malawi Principles. The multivariate analysis techniques employed identified three clusters of farms, with either Active, Moderate or Improvable ecosystem management. The study area as a whole displays strengths in social participation, local capacity building, soil and environmental conservation practices, with the farm as the main source of income. Weaknesses lie in the fact that indicators referring to household income and productivity are less frequent. In terms of farm management, the results revealed that combined male and female management was similar in percentage to male-only management. The results highlight the need to continue with the implementation of environmental goals linked to the design of initiatives that promote productivity, income and gender equity in farm management in an integrated manner. At the same time, existing local capacities for sustainable soil and ecosystem management should be brought together and strengthened ​
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