Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Ecosystem Services

Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, 2018, 686p; 44p Summary)

Published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, this is a powerful eye-opening work by 184 authors, summarizing some 4,000 sources.

Insights:

  • Land degradation—a pervasive, systemic phenomenon in all parts of the world—is a major contributor to climate change.  Current degradation of some 12 million hectares per year, notably desertification, “is negatively impacting the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people” and represents “an economic loss of c.10% of global gross product.”
  • Declining land productivity also leads to socio-economic instability.
  • “Unless urgent and concerted action is taken, land degradation will worsen in the face of population growth, unprecedented consumption, and climate change.”
  • A global target of Land Degradation Neutrality will require new policies.  However, reversing current trends “could generate up to $1.4 trillion per year of economic benefits.”
  • The widespread lack of awareness is a major barrier to corrective actions.
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