By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published on IISD.


Story highlights:

  • Investing in sustainable land management and practices such as restoring degraded land can recover soil health and enhance soil functions and land productivity to provide critical ecological and economic benefits for human needs.
  • We suggest investing in critical linkages that are closely linked to several problems.
  • Smart investments in combating land degradation must address emerging ecological issues and socioeconomic demands in a local or regional context.

“It takes 200-400 years to form one centimeter of soil, while the estimated rate of soil erosion is 100 times greater than soil formation. Where erosion is prevalent, the rate of soil loss reaches 4 mm per year (FAO 2015); 70% of drylands suffer from land degradation in varying degrees (Gibbs and Salmon 2015). While global population grows rapidly, land is finite in quantity.

With an annual financial loss of US$400 billion due to soil erosion from arable lands, as estimated by the FAO-led Global Soil Partnership, investing in sustainable land management and practices such as restoring degraded land can recover soil health and enhance soil functions and land productivity to provide critical ecological and economic benefits for human needs. Goal 15 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly outlines the international community’s resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.

In addition to protecting land against desertification, forests can regulate water, sequester carbon, and supply timber and other forest products. Forests are thus a central interest of governmental investments for multi-purpose land restoration. The FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 showed that investments in restoring land led to a significant increase of plantation forests by over 105 million hectares since 1990…”

Read on at: IISD.