Degraded land are soils that have suffered a significant loss of quality and fertility due to processes such as erosion, salinisation, compaction, chemical degradation and deforestation.
Important notes on degraded land
- Soil degradation can be caused by a combination of natural factors, such as geological phenomena, and human activities, such as intensive agriculture, unsustainable resource management, and deforestation;
- In degraded land, the capacity of the soil to support agricultural activities is compromised, delivering negative impacts on food security and the environment;
- Beyon being a consequence of climate change, soil degradation can contribute to the change itself as soil acts as a carbon storage. Degraded land is less capable of absorbing carbon and can become a source of emissions, thus increasing net concentration of greenhouse gas.
Soil degradation is a global threat affecting different regions and countries. Degraded land affects food production, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and puts biodiversity at risk. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), about 25% of the world’s cultivated land is degraded. Soil degradation affects crop yields, causing an estimated 30% loss of global agricultural yields for a total annual loss of about USD 400 billion. This phenomenon can cause famine and threatens food security. The impacts on local communities are multiple, including increasing poverty and pushing migration.
Restoring degraded land requires integrated strategies that include sustainable land, water and reforestation management practices.
zeroCO2 and degraded land
Through reforestation projects, zeroCO2 contributes to the restoration of degraded lands in several countries between Latin America and Africa by involving local communities in sustainable land management practices.