Land degradation is a pervasive, systemic phenomenon occurring in all parts of the world, and is an urgent priority in order to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vital to all life on Earth and to ensure human well-being.
This report provides a critical analysis of the state of knowledge regarding the importance, drivers, status, and trends of terrestrial ecosystems. It encompasses all the terrestrial regions and biomes of the world, recognizing that land degradation drivers and processes can vary in severity within regions and countries as much as between them, and includes the full range of human-altered systems, including but not limited to drylands, agricultural and agroforestry systems, savannahs and forests and aquatic systems associated with these areas.
It also provides a critical assessment of the full range of issues facing decision makers, including the importance, status, trends and threats to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, as well as governance options, policies and management practices that can help support stakeholders working at all levels to to develop appropriate response options, technologies, policies, financial incentives and behavior changes to reduce the negative environmental, social and economic consequences of land degradation and to rehabilitate and restore degraded land.
It concludes that avoiding land degradation and restoring degraded lands makes sound economic sense, resulting in, inter-alia, increased food and water security, increased employment, improved gender equality, and avoidance of conflict and migration. Avoiding land degradation and restoring degraded lands are also essential for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.