Land degradation causes up to 5% loss in farm output

Apr 09, 2013
Ma Wangzhen walks in the desert that threatens to engulf her onion farm on the edge of the ancient Chinese city of Dunhuang in China's northwest Gansu province, on October 25, 2007. Loss of land through desertification and drought costs up to five percent of world agricultural gross domestic product (AGDP), or some $450 billion (340 billion euros), every year, said a study.

Loss of land through desertification and drought costs up to five percent of world agricultural gross domestic product (AGDP), or some $450 billion (340 billion euros), every year, said a study presented at a UN conference Tuesday.

Each year an area roughly three times the size of Switzerland is lost through soil degradation, it said, as 870 million people suffer from chronic hunger.

Between four and 12 percent of Africa's AGDP is lost due to annually, and in Guatemala the figure is 24 percent, the report said.

In Uzbekistan, food yields have declined by 20-30 percent due to deteriorated land, while in East Africa nearly 3.7 million people need food assistance as a result of the drought of 2011, it said.

The study, a summary of published research, was presented at the opening of a four-day conference in Bonn of the UN Convention to Combat (UNCCD).

It is the most detailed exploration of the economic cost of degraded and desertified land since 1992, the UNCCD said.

At that time, the direct annual cost was estimated at $42 billion.

"For current estimates, the best guess is $450 billion per year as a result of , drought and desertification and loss in fertile soil," said Walter Ammann, head of Global Risk Forum Davos, which promotes debate on issues of world risk.

"For example, Bangladesh is losing two percent of its fertile soil on an annual basis," Ammann said in a phone interview from the former West German capital.

"If you calculate this on a linear basis, then in 50 years' time, Bangladesh will have no available."

Explore further: Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Action to improve soil for global food security

Jan 14, 2013

As a society, we are becoming more aware of the many ways we can help support sustainable development and preserve the environment. Governments, scientists and international organisations are calling attention ...

Satellite data instrumental in combating desertification

Oct 07, 2009

With land degradation in dryland regions continuing to worsen, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification has agreed on scientist-recommended indicators for monitoring and assessing desertification that signatory ...

China may need 300 years to beat desertification

Jan 05, 2011

Huge population pressures, scarce rainfall and climate change have made China the world's biggest victim of desertification, a problem that could take 300 years to reverse, state media said Wednesday.

UN warns 25 pct of world land highly degraded

Nov 28, 2011

(AP) -- The United Nations has completed the first-ever global assessment of the state of the planet's land resources, finding in a report Monday that a quarter of all land is highly degraded and warning the trend must be ...

Recommended for you

Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions

2 hours ago

Australia is set to approve measures giving polluters financial incentives to reduce emissions blamed for climate change, in a move critics described as ineffective environmental policy.

TransCanada seeks approvals for pipeline to Atlantic

12 hours ago

TransCanada on Thursday filed for regulatory approval of a proposed Can$12 billion (US$10.7 billion) pipeline to carry western Canadian oil to Atlantic coast refineries and terminals, for shipping overseas.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

16 hours ago

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today in the journal ...

Reef-builders with a sense of harmony

18 hours ago

Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals. On dives with JAGO, a research submersible stationed at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, scientists ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.