Human damage to the planet’s land is accelerating, with more than 45% now classed as degraded, while three quarters of the world’s people are suffering the impacts.
Degraded land – which has been depleted of natural resources, soil fertility, water, biodiversity, trees or native vegetation – is found all over our planet. Many people think of degraded land as arid desert, dumps, rainforests maimed by loggers or areas covered in urban sprawl, but it also includes apparently “green” areas that are intensely farmed or stripped of natural vegetation.
Degradation also contributes to the loss of plant and animal species and exacerbate the climate catastrophe by reducing the Earth’s ability to absorb and store carbon.
Land degradation is affecting food, water, carbon and biodiversity.
Without urgent action, degradation will spread further. By 2040, an area the size of South America will be added to the toll.