Some entrepreneurs are trying to turn the problem into an opportunity by producing charcoal for the European market. What is certain is that local solutions for people like the Herero and other marginalised groups will need locally relevant solutions on the ground.

Building capacity on the ground

In 2016, we embarked on assessing the extent of land degradation in Otjondzupa Region in Namibia, and partnered with a team from the country’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) – some of whom represent the government at the UNCCD – to establish a baseline to measure Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) and Bush Encroachment (BE). In order to develop the baselines to track encroachment, we first worked out baselines to track Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC) and Net Primary Productivity (NPP), which helps us distinguish bushes from grasses remotely. This was done by analysing different climatic, vegetative and topographic variables and data – which had not been carried out at such a scale and resolution before.