The Economics of Land Degradation
Land degradation and desertification threaten fertile land and the benefits human society derives from it throughout the world. On a global scale, around 10 – 20% of drylands and 24% of the world’s productive lands are degraded. The consequences are alarming: food insecurity, poverty, reduced availability of clean water, and increased vulnerability of affected areas to climate change. It is estimated that 1.5 billion people across the world are already directly affected through reduced income or food security. The annual economic losses due to deforestation and land degradation were estimated at 1.5 – 3.4 trillion Euro in 2008, equaling 3.3 – 7.5% of the global GDP in 2008. Competition for the scarce resources of soil and water is further intensified by the growing world population and increasing demand for alternative land management products.
The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, provides a platform for discussion between stakeholders from the policy, science, and private sectors, focused on developing globally relevant data on the economic benefits of land and land based ecosystems. It highlights the potential benefits derived from adopting sustainable land management practices and seeks to establish a universal approach for economic analysis of land management.