What evidence exists for the effectiveness of on‑farm conservation land management strategies for preserving ecosystem services in developing countries? A systematic map
This article (PDF) in Environmental Evidence provides a coherent synthesis and review of the evidence of claims of on-farm conservation land management strategies and agro-ecology. An extensive body of evidence in the field of agro-ecology claims to show the positive effects that maintenance of ecosystem services can have on meeting future food demand by making farms more sustainable, productive and resilient, which then contributes to improved nutrition and livelihoods of farmers. However, inconsistent effects have commonly been reported, while empirical evidence to support assumed improvements is largely lacking. The authors used systematic searches of peer-reviewed research in bibliographic databases and grey literature. They discovered key data gaps regarding the absence of long-term records (with datasets spanning >20 years), studies located in North and Central Africa, research that focuses on smallholder landscapes, and studies that span different scales (regional and landscape levels). The study combines the systematic mapping with an online interactive platform that geographically maps results, which allows users to interrogate different aspects of the evidence through a defined database field structure. While studies are not directly comparable, the database of 746 studies brings together a previously fragmented and multidisciplinary literature base, and collectively provides evidence concerning a wide range of conservation land management practices impacting key ecosystem services. The systematic map is easily updatable, and may be extended for additional coding, assessing the quality of studies, or inform future systematic reviews.