The UNCCD estimates that over 250 million people are affected by land degradation, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. According to the WMO, 33% of the world’s land surface is vulnerable to land degradation. Degraded lands lead to overall reduced productivity and reduced crop yields which directly impact population health.
Degraded lands are typically a more significant problem in areas with fragile ecosystems (deserts, semi-arid, volcanic islands, rainforests, etc) and in places with heavy population loads where people are forced to over-use the same land with no alternatives. Degraded lands are also associated with areas where the land is the main resource for everything: human food, animal food, building materials, fuel, income generation, etc. These pressures create constant “withdrawals” that, if not reversed, lead to exhaustion of the land resource.
This ECHO Best Practice Note details the problem of land degradation, and provides priciples and best practices for improving degraded land.