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Land degradation threatens wellbeing of two-fifths of humanity, major report warns

As reported by euractiv, land degradation caused by human activities undermines the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people, costs more than 10% of annual global GDP in lost ecosystem services and endangers food security. This warning was give by a hundred experts from 45 countries in a three-year assessment report published on 26 March.

The complete press report can be found following the link below. Read an abstract here:

Land degradation caused by human activities undermines the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people, costs more than 10% of annual global GDP in lost ecosystem services and endangers food security, warn a hundred experts from 45 countries in a three-year assessment report published yesterday (26 March).

“By 2050, the combination of land degradation and climate change is predicted to reduce global crop yields by an average of 10%, and by up to 50% in some regions. In the future, most degradation will occur in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia – the areas with the most land still remaining that are suitable for agriculture,” the report reads.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) under the auspices of the United Nations, the organisation describes the report as “the world’s first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation and restoration”.

The experts explain that ongoing land degradation worldwide is caused by high consumption lifestyles in more developed economies, combined with rising consumption in developing and emerging economies.

To meet the needs for this “high consumption lifestyle”, crop and grazing lands are being expanded into native vegetation, leading to unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices and, in specific areas, an increase in urban expansion, infrastructure development and extractive industry, they explain.

Unless urgent and concerted action is taken, “land degradation will worsen in the face of population growth, unprecedented consumption, an increasingly globalised economy and climate change”, the experts warn.

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complete press report

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