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Analysis Of DTE Magazine: ‘’Urgency Of Restoring the Degraded Land’’| Down To Earth May 2022


– Around 40 per cent of the land across the globe is now de-graded.
– This is affecting half of hu manity and threatening US $44 trillion in economic output, which is over half of the global gdp (gross do- mestic product) in 2021.

“Global Land Outlook” report (glo2)

– This report was released by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (unccd).
– This report was released on April 27, shortly before its 15th Conference of the Parties in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
– The report warns that at the current trend, an additional 1.6 billion hectares (ha), or an area almost the size of South America, will be degraded.
– This will lead to severe climate-induced disturbances that will disrupt food supply, cause migrations and accelerate species extinction.
The report also estimates that an additional 69 gigatonnes of carbon emissions will be released from 2015 to 2050 due to land-use change, soil degra- dation and slowed agricultural yields.

What if we move consciously?

– The report also offers a vision of benefits that could accrue by 2050 if humanity acts to restore landscapes and reverse this trend.
– The returns from a regenerative restoration economy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, land degra-dation and biodiversity loss are estimated to be worth $125-140 trillion annually—up to one and a 
half times global gdp, acknowledging the economic benefits of reversing land degradation amid rapid natural deterioration.

SDGs and Worldwide Commitment

– The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include “land degradation neutrality” as a target, and at least 115 countries have already committed to restore 1 billion ha by 2030, as per to a 2020 study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
– India has pledged to restore 26 million ha. glo2 says this will cost $300 billion every year.

What should be done to meet the pledges?

– Governments will be able to meet current pledges by repurposing subsidies given to the fossil fuel and agricultural industries, which total $700 billion every year.
In fact, restoring 15 per cent of converted or degraded lands in priority areas can sequester up to 300 gigatonnes of carbon.

The need to rethink our food system

– We need to urgently re-think our global food systems, which are responsible for 80 per cent of deforestation, 70 per cent of freshwater use and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss.
The ongoing destruction of nature for food production (such as extensification) is now encroaching on some of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet.      – This in turn reduces yields, forcing farmers to use harmful agrochemicals.
– To reverse this trend, the report recommends conservation agriculture (low-or no-till farming), agro- forestry and silvo-pasture, improved grazing management, grassland rehabilitation and forest plantations.
– It also lauds India’s emphasis on zero-budget natural farming.

No to Mono-Culture Plantation

– The report cautions against “mono- culture plantations” as was seen under the Bonn Challenge—a global goal to restore 150 million ha of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030.
– As recent studies show that nearly half the area pledged in Africa, Asia and South America is earmarked for monoculture plantations, mostly fast-growing exotic species.
– These areas will lose out on benefits of naturally regenerating forests.
– For the first time, the report recommends scaling up the land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to ensure the success of nature restoration projects.

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