Land Degradation And Development Pdf

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Land Degradation and Socio-Economic Development

Land degradation is globally pervasive and, in some places, irreversible. Humans have historically modified the environment directly and indirectly to meet their requirements, but the rate and extent of degradation has accelerated dramatically in recent years. The resulting anthropogenic impacts on land have been so profound that a new geologic era has been recognized, the Anthropocene - generally dated from Many studies have contributed to the current theoretical understanding of land degradation.

However, some critical aspects that underlie existing knowledge remain to be addressed. Even in the context of extensive study, surprisingly, there remain serious gaps is in the basic foundation of understanding. Clearly, a foundation should contribute to the extensive existing progress to build a coherent whole, rather than proposing yet another conceptual framework.

There is a distinction between, on the one hand, the human causes, motivations and consequences of land degradation and, on the other, the biophysically imposed constraints. Degradation results from a multitude of drivers and can manifest in many forms, including erosion, loss of carbon stocks, and changes in hydrological regimes.

It can be driven by changes in land cover, caused by, for example, pollution, pests and diseases spreading as a result of climate change, excessive livestock production, agriculture, forestry, alien species introductions, abandonment of land, mining and urbanization. Land degradation predates modern written history. Notwithstanding this long history, modern day attempts to quantify the extent and scale of land degradation have proven difficult, especially at the global scale.

There has been a failure to agree on what ecosystem conditions should be regarded as degraded, hampering any consensus on location, severity and extent. In forested areas, there is extensive mapping of forest loss i. Early global assessments of degradation had a narrow soil focus e. Many believe they can recognize it when they see it in the field or with satellite imagery , yet the confusion in the literature belies this view.

The analogy of a cusp threshold Figure 1 illustrates the distinctions between some of the different types of degradation. The effects of stress caused by human activities to which organisms are susceptible, and therefore the ecosystem service they provide e.

This is shown by the blue curve from 1 to 2 to 3 Figure 1. The ecosystem service responds rapidly, almost linearly from point 1 to2 , until the stress declines e. As the stress declines from left to right in Figure 1, further increases in the service crop yield decrease from 2 to 3 , often reaching a plateau when additional reductions of the specific stress have no further effect at 3. Fluctuations in the stress cause the ecosystem service to move up and down the curve in its range of resilience 2.

This is an example of a non-linear ecological process. Most importantly the ecosystem service cannot be recovered no matter how much the stress is relieved. Figure 1 Two types of response to stress. In curve 1, 2 to 3 blue the degree of anthropogenic stress determines the level of ecosystem service over the full range, until point 3 when the stress is so low that it has no further effect.

The second curve 4 to 6 reaches a threshold 5 at which the response to stress is non-linear and changes to a new state that cannot return to the upper level, no matter how much the stress is alleviated. The analogy of response curves is helpful only when one anthropogenic stress is involved, but normally there are many that affect ecosystem services, such as: soil type, pollution, soil compaction, loss of palatable species for livestock, reduced productivity.

These stresses can be divided into two classes Figure 2 : the first are those that are caused by the physical environment with no human involvement and the second, those that are brought about by human action alone anthropogenic stresses. These two classes of stress frequently occur together and interact. While a service may be resilient to the full range of anthropogenic stress when there is negligible environmental stress, a moderate environmental stress moves the anthropogenic response curve closer to the threshold Figure 1.

A further increase in environmental stress drives the site over the cusp and into the zone of permanent degradation, from which no return is possible without drastic, expensive and lengthy artificial remediation.

Typically neither anthropogenic nor environmental stress alone drive the site into the permanently degraded zone, but when they work together catastrophic loss of services can ensue. Figure 2 Conceptual representation of the states and process of degradation and the potential contributions of anthropogenic human-caused and natural environmental stresses.

The ecosystem service s is represented by the vertical dimension and the ecosystem dynamics by the surface. The higher up the surface in the vertical dimension, the higher the ecosystem service. The top two edges represent stress from the natural environmental left and anthropogenic stress right.

Both stresses increase across the surface from 1 to 2 and from 3 to 4. The fold in the surface at 5 represents the threshold of a zone of permanent degradation. Sites that move over the threshold of resilience on any trajectory cannot return to the upper zone of resilience. A second surface shown below 7 represents a site that naturally provides lower environmental services, but is not initially degraded: it has all the features of the upper surface including resilience and the possibility of permanent degradation.

Types i and iii are actually not degraded, but are often mistaken for it. Similarly Type ii may have existed for a long time and might be assumed to not be degraded, but it could belong to Type vi i.

Completely static degradation Type vi does occur, for example in heavily salinized cropland. Type iv is of greatest interest since, if the stress is alleviated, it has the capacity to recover naturally — although recovery may be accelerated by human intervention; the alternative being unremitting further degradation to Type v or vi. Recovery from Types v and vi is actually possible, but only with significant efforts and expenses, or over exceptionally long-time periods, generally exceeding a human life-span.

Remediation and restoration techniques are frequently applied to control degradation. However, the recovery of the original, pre-degradation ecosystem is at best extremely slow. In cases where there are data, disturbance remained detectable over long periods.

Thus degradation can be permanent on century-long scales. In the ecological literature, this state is referred to as a deflected succession, a subclimax, or plagioclimax. Developing indicators and monitoring them are essential to any understanding of land degradation. The Sustainable Development Goal Target Data on land degradation that are appropriate for rigorous analysis and development of policy-relevant conclusions are the same as those that apply to all quantitative data collection.

They have little meaning unless accompanied with explicit information on the methods used, any necessary qualifications and the variance of the reported values. Data are collected at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales - from single points or small areas of a few hectares, all the way to global, and for one point in time to monitoring long-term trends. Methods differ for different scales. In the case of vegetation, the remarkable characteristics of remotely-sensed measurements of vegetation indices especially normalized difference vegetation index and their inter-annual trends are compelling.

Table 1 ; the same lack of trend occurs for Type ii. Other information, such as plant diversity, generally cannot be measured directly. Some interspecific differences can be detected in repeat observations throughout the season based on seasonal phenological changes in normalized difference vegetation index. The same occurs over space, for example deposition of wind-blown products of surface erosion can takes place over hundreds of square kilometers, and hundreds of kilometers from the source, yet cattle hoofs that compact the soil are limited to paddocks measuring hectares.

The scale of national politics is another range of space and time scales. Weightings can only be justified if the processes are understood well enough e. Global monitoring of above and below ground carbon stock is impractical. A single, large-area map has been developed based on the development of functions for upscaling point data to a full spatial extent using correlated environmental covariates, for which spatial data are available, such as Global Soil Information System Brus et al.

Mechanistic models can simulate degradation and other relevant metrics using mathematical representations. Many such models exist, appropriate to different aspects of degradation e.

These models are attractive since they are designed to behave according to the same processes that determine the degradation, unlike, for example, mapping some indicator. Model results can be very accurate when the biophysical processes and data are known. However, the more realistic models are, the greater their complexity and their need for data. The demand for data and parameters can be prohibitive and often default values have to be used with consequent reduction of accuracy.

Rarely do such models have adequate precision to detect subtle local degradation. They are derived from qualitative studies of the physical and human aspects of selected degradation case studies. While attractive as summaries of the nature of specific degradation processes, the selection of types of syndromes is not based on any objective scheme. Land degradation takes place in both natural vegetation and on land transformed to an altered state and use such as cropland and plantation forests.

Although land transformation can, in its self, be considered as a form of degradation, especially when considering biodiversity, transformed land may also enhance provisioning of specific ecosystem services such as agricultural commodities.

As such, the choice of an appropriate baseline against which to assess degradation is important. Multiple types of reference states are in use to furnish a start, baseline or reference condition for comparison with the current conditions Table 4. Ecosystem services are provided to human beings and have no meaning apart from that.

They are a measure of human preference and satisfaction, so a particularly pertinent reference condition for measurement of degradation would be one that maximizes the desired mix of ecosystem services — that is a Target condition.

A target condition is based on a deliberate choice and is therefore context dependent. For example, in the case of long-standing cropland agriculture, sustained and healthy crop production, rather than the natural land cover, is the target. This is perhaps the most important reference for policy purposes, since it represents a desired future state, the achievement of which can be measured and monitored. A target, however, is not static — it is an aim and aims can change, nor is it usually possible to treat a single service alone since any gain in one can cause a loss of another, so trade-offs are needed, and the choices involved can also change.

Furthermore, in many regions and ecosystems, this potential is also not static because of ongoing regional and global changes such as climate change and atmospheric nitrogen deposition. The historical baseline is the condition of a site in the past. The change from the historical condition to the present time — the trend. This provides an objective assessment, as opposed to the selection of a Target condition which is an aspiration.

A historical trend can indicate undesirable changes in an ecosystem and also point to the processes of degradation that have led to the current state and restoration efforts. While highly desirable, unfortunately there are a few, detailed, time-series of observations of ecosystem properties that are more than 50 years old. Examples are the Park Grass Experiment started in Silvertown et al. Most repetitive measurement programs are recent.

Historical baselines have been used extensively for assessment of the status and trends of many species and ecosystems e. However, few of these records are coordinated, and start dates, repetitions and types of measurements generally differ, which makes comparisons difficult. Furthermore, sites may have suffered degradation before the historical baseline e. Gritzner, These can sometimes be dated or otherwise assigned to the pre-human period, but they are often too generalized to specify the state of the environment in adequate detail for comparison with existing conditions.

Of course, a pre-human baseline has no use when the climate or other physical environmental conditions changed in the time between the baseline and the present time, for example the Little Ice Age just years ago.

Land Degradation and Socio-Economic Development

Achieving goals in land and soil protection, for example, cannot build on a long tradition of policymaking or on a solid basis of information and data for monitoring. Stephanie Wunder from Ecologic Institute presented results from a report, which served as the basis for intensive discussions among the participants. The workshop aimed for making the concept of land and soil degradation more practical for the German context and finding approaches how to achieve "land degradation neutrality" as formulated in SDG For this, the most important soil functions in Germany were identified, their threats were evaluated, and the participants discussed, which indicators and data are available for an effective monitoring. Participants from research, policy and civil society agreed that that soil sealing and land take have a high priority in Germany when it comes to progress monitoring of target The respective indicator is already anchored in the German sustainable development strategy, supported by solid information and reliable data.


Keywords: policy impact; desertification risk; Southern Europe; local development​; national strategy. 1. Introduction. Land degradation implies.


Implementation of "Land Degradation Neutrality" in Germany

Land degradation is globally pervasive and, in some places, irreversible. Humans have historically modified the environment directly and indirectly to meet their requirements, but the rate and extent of degradation has accelerated dramatically in recent years. The resulting anthropogenic impacts on land have been so profound that a new geologic era has been recognized, the Anthropocene - generally dated from Many studies have contributed to the current theoretical understanding of land degradation. However, some critical aspects that underlie existing knowledge remain to be addressed.

Dry Land Degradation and Development (Irish Aid Environment Keysheet 10)

Economics of land degradation and improvement

Land degradation is a global problem that particularly impacts the poor rural inhabitants of low and middle-income countries. We improve upon existing literature by estimating the extent of rural populations in and globally on degrading and improving agricultural land, taking into account the role of market access, and analyzing the resulting impacts on poverty. Using a variety of spatially referenced datasets, we estimate that 1. There were also 1. We find that a lower share of people in on DAL, or a higher share on IAL, lowers significantly how much overall economic growth reduces poverty from to across 83 developing countries. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Land degradation is the reduction or loss of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rain—fed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest or woodlands resulting from natural processes, land uses or other human activities and habitation patterns such as land contamination, soil erosion and the destruction of the vegetation cover UNCCD, Thirty-three per cent of global land area is degraded FAO, About 47 per cent of degrading land globally is forest; cropland accounts for approximately 18 per cent of the global total degraded land Bai et al. About two billion people and 1. The alarming rates of degradation globally have been recognized and accorded international efforts to help halt and reverse land degradation and combat desertification ibid.

It seems that you're in Germany. We have a dedicated site for Germany. This book offers an overview of recent literature on land degradation and its interrelationship with socio-economic development processes in the developing world. It provides an in-depth analysis of land degradation as a physical process, with an emphasis on the local and regional scales. The volume contains a detailed case-study of ravine formation processes in the Chambal valley, a unique but least studied part of the world. Using multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approaches, and combining spatial socio-economic data with remote sensing data, this book provides an in-depth analysis of the causes and implications of land degradation.

Data application of the month: Land degradation

Land Degradation: An overview

Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human-induced processes acting upon the land. This is considered to be an important topic of the 21st century due to the implications land degradation has upon agricultural productivity , the environment, and its effects on food security. According to the Special Report on Climate Change and Land of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change : "About a quarter of the Earth's ice-free land area is subject to human-induced degradation medium confidence. Soil erosion from agricultural fields is estimated to be currently 10 to 20 times no tillage to more than times conventional tillage higher than the soil formation rate medium confidence. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15 has a target to restore degraded land and soil and achieve a land degradation-neutral world by There are four main ways of looking at land degradation and its impact on the environment around it:. A problem with defining land degradation is that what one group of people might view as degradation, others might view as a benefit or opportunity.

Soil Use. Published in: Eswaran, H. Lal and P. Land degradation: an overview. In: Bridges, E.

Land degradation

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