In addition to the above, awareness of and attitude towards land degradation can be positively related to both severity of and susceptibility to degradation; the attitudes of Haitian peasants towards the environment were influenced by their socioeconomic status (Bayard and Jolly, 2007). This suggested that a positive attitude toward conservation would develop if farmers perceived a potential economic benefit from such practice, and that further studies were needed to analyze the importance of psychological variables for farmers’ decisions regarding land degradation. At the local level, people act according to household conditions and local economic opportunities, the priority being the satisfaction of family needs. As an adaptive strategy to meet family needs, small farmers from an upland village of northern Laos, an area under the context of soil erosion and increasing population pressure, among other restrictions, diversified their activities to generate cash, which included land use intensification and the shortening of the fallow period, and sometimes crop diversification (Lestrelin and Giordano, 2006). Diversification may depend on household characteristics such as education, age and number of family members (Lestrelin et al., 2006*; Leutlwetse, 2006) diversification also is a key strategy for survival, and reduces risks in rain-fed agriculture (Winslow et al., 2004). In some cases the choice for reducing pressure on land is to reduce the birth rate (Sankhayan et al., 2003), as shown in a catchment in Mardi, Nepal. In the case of cattle herders, some of them rely on such adaptive strategies as transhumance, forage stocking and sale of animals, as exemplified for Mali (Dembele, 2006*). Dietz et al. (2005) carried out research on livestock marketing among Mongolian pastoralists and found that herders did not have enough animals to sustain themselves in the traditional way, and that they were forced to combine subsistence livestock-grazing with a variety of other sources of income.
Agro-ecological and conservation practices that have been used to cope with or to reverse degradation processes include the following: afforestation and mechanical practices to fix dunes (Dembele, 2006*); stonewall terrace construction to reduce runoff and erosion, and to preserve soil moisture (crucial in low rainfall areas) (Hammad and Børresen, 2006); and agro-forestry practices, including fallow (Malley et al., 2006). These techniques have proven efficient in restoration of degraded lands and they deserve attention in conservation plans (Neupane and Thapa, 2001; Pattanayak and Mercer, 2002); caution is needed, because the adoption of conservation practices is largely site-specific (Lapar and Pandey, 1999; Eswaran et al., 2001).