Land degradation and land management


To fight desertification, let’s manage our land better


In the future, desertification could displace up to 135 million people by 2045.

Land degradation could also reduce global food production by up to 12% and push world food prices up by 30%. In Egypt, Ghana, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Paraguay, land degradation could cause an annual GDP loss of up to 7%.

Pressure on land resources is expected to increase as populations grow, socio-economic development happens and the climate changes. A growing population will demand more food, which means that unsuitable or especially biodiverse land will be claimed for farming and be more vulnerable to degradation. Increased fertilizer and pesticide use related to agriculture will increase nutrient loading in soils, causing eutrophication and declines in fertility over time. Climate change will also aggravate land degradation—especially in drylands, which occupy 40% of global land area, and are inhabited by some 2 billion people. Urban areas, which are located in the world’s highly fertile areas, could grow to account for more than 5% of global land by mid-century.

Unless we manage our land better, every person will rely on just .11 hectares of land for their food; down from .45 hectares in 1960.

So how do we manage land better?

It will all come down to what we do with our soil, which is the most significant natural capital for ensuring food, water, and energy security while adapting and building resilience to climate change and shocks. The soil’s nutrient cycling provides the largest contribution (51%) of the total value (USD33 trillion) of all ‘ecosystem services’ provided each year. But soil’s important function is often forgotten as the missing link in our pursuit of sustainable development.

Read the full article: The World Bank – Voices

Desertification in Haiti

Photo credit: Google

“You should have seen the top of these mountains 4 years ago. There were no trees, only few unwanted grasses. Now we can begin to see many changes in the landscape and the texture of the soil is less rocky. All of this because of HTRIP that helps us to produce more than 7,000 seedlings every year in our community tree nursery. HTRIP makes us believe in soil conservation and tree planting as the solution to many of our ecological problems”

— Charles Watson, HTRIP Leader in Drice, Verettes District

A Case Study of the Desertification of Haiti

by Johnson Williams

in Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online)



One of the largest Caribbean nations, Haiti has 27,720 Square kilometers of land. Less that 20% of the land under cultivation is appropriate for agriculture. Once covered by forest, this country has been heavily logged and now mostly deforested. The majority of the arable land is being farmed beyond their carrying capacity. The total area under agriculture production is 6 times greater than the estimated areas suitable for agriculture resulting in significant deterioration of the land. Although the national governments as well as other governments have made several attempts to combat desertification, few initiatives have been successful.
This research will: (1) review desertification, (2) assess the current state of desertification in Haiti and on the island of Hispaniola, (3) review the impact of internal and external programs designed to reverse the effects of desertification, (4) compare the indicators of desertification that exist on the island of Hispaniola, and (5) discuss the consequences of desertification for Haiti as well as proactive strategies for reversing the negative effects.
References on Desertification
Ahmad, Y.J. and M. Kassas. (1987). Desertification: Financial Support for the Biosphere. West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press.
Conway, Dr. J. Jickling, J. Haiti Agroforestry Outreach Project Extension, (1987-90). Pan American Development Foundation.
Desertification Tables and Charts for Haiti. Retrieved from Executive Summary Third National Report of the Republic of Haiti (2006), Retrieved from
Reining, P. (1978). Handbook on Desertification Indicators. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
J.F. Reynolds and D.M. Stafford Smith. (2004). “Global Desertification’s, Do Humans cause Deserts?”, Environmental Science and Policy, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2004, pp.118-199.
UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). (1984). General Assessment of Progress in the Implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification, 1978-1984. GC-12/9.


Read the full article:


Goats instead of dollars

Photo credit: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION / Isaiah Esipisu – Photo 960-1.jpg. 

Drought-hit Kenyan farmers bank on goats as new currency

Author: Isaiah Esipisu


The small-scale farmers, who contribute funds to a savings pool and are eligible for small loans from it, aimed to use the funds to improve their farms and boost their harvests of hardy crops like pigeon pea.

“But with this kind of climate, which has dried up even the most resilient pigeon peas on our farms, no other crop can easily survive,”

So the group has instead turned to a safer investment to hold onto their cash: hardy local goats.

So-called “table banking” – conducted over an ordinary family table – was introduced to the Mwingi area in 2011 by ActionAid International Kenya – a humanitarian nongovernmental organisation – as part of an effort to strengthen livelihoods in the difficult region. But changing heat and rainfall have made that difficult.

Read the full article (Marked with highlights): THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

More rains or more desalination plants ? (Google / abc 10 news)

Seen at : Google Alerts – drought-tolerant plants

Storm not enough to help drought

Tighter water restrictions touted for 2015

By Bob Lawrence

SAN DIEGO – Scores of water agency experts are in San Diego for a state conference, with the consensus being there would have to be 10 to 12 more storms like the one Tuesday in the next four months to ease the drought.

“That’s the reality as we’re looking at a 10 percent cut in water supplies from the State Water Project,” said Rich Atwater, executive director of the Southern California Water Committee.

A key to holding off drought, Atwater said, is adequate storage, but he said reservoirs are already low.

“By next summer, they’re going to be at emergency low levels, so it’s going to be a real problem,” he said.

The good news for San Diego is that the desalination plant in Carlsbad will be able to add to the water supply once it’s completed. Additionally, the city of San Diego approved a water recycling program much like what Orange County is now doing.

The desal plant won’t be online until 2016, and it will be years after that before a recycling plant is built.

“Outdoor water use is the key, we really need it to be the biggest game changer in terms of cutting back on water use,” Atwater said.


Desertification is not a local problem, it is a global problem (Google / Xinhuanet)

#desertification, #landdegradation, #UNCCD

Read at :

Interview: UN official says desertification deserves more attention

by Tang Zhiqiang, Ban Wei

BONN, Germany, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — Desertification and land degradation would affect lives of ordinary people and cause many global problems including terrorism, thus deserved more attention from all stakeholders, said a top UN official in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

“Clearly, I cannot say that it has been done enough,” said Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), “the (desertification) affected land are getting bigger and bigger.”

According to the Bonn-based UNCCD secretariat, about 12 million hectares of productive drylands become infertile due to desertification and drought. Over 2 billion people live in the drylands where desertification and drought are enduring challenges. About 90 percent of them are in developing countries, mostly in the rural areas where land is their primary source of livelihood.

Barbut said that there is a misperception that land restoration is only good for the few people to whom the land belongs.

“It is not a local problem, it is a global problem,” she said, “if you think in terms of global food security, less land that you have somewhere would also impact the price of food in another place.”

In her opinion, the problem of desertification and land degradation was even one of causes of terrorism.


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