Up to 40 percent of Earth's land is degraded, which threatens roughly half of the global gross domestic product, or 44 trillion U.S. dollars, according to a UN report released on Wednesday.
If current practices continue through 2050, there could be an additional degradation of an area almost the size of South America, warns the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) report.
The report, "Global Land Outlook 2," also makes recommendations for decision-makers on ways to invest in land restoration, climate change mitigation and poverty reduction.
It gives both stark warnings and hundreds of practical ways to affect local, national and regional ecosystem restoration. It shows how restoring land means restoring life, economies, communities, climate, health and more.
Five years in development, with 21 partner organizations and more than 1,000 references and 250-plus global case examples, the report is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled, the UNCCD said.
The study was released ahead of the 15th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification to be held May 9 to 20 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
The UNCCD described land degradation as the persistent or long-term loss of land-based natural capital. It gives rise to poverty, hunger and environmental pollution while making communities more vulnerable to disease and disasters like drought, floods or wildfires.
(All images via VCG.)
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