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A quarter of the world's population depends on degrading land
Date:3/20/2009

os, Korea and Indonesia. In terms of the rural population affected, the greatest numbers are in China, with nearly half a billion, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Brazil. The usual suspects, such as the African Sahel and around the Mediterranean are much less affected."

The resulting loss of carbon fixation from the atmosphere over the measured period amounts to a thousand million tonnes. At a shadow price of $50 per tonne, the loss of carbon fixed amounts to $50 billion and the real cost is far greater in terms of emissions to the atmosphere through loss of soil organic carbon.

Comparison with land use reveals that 19% of the degrading area is cropland and 43% forest. Cropland occupies 12% of the land area and forest 28%, so both are affected disproportionately.

The study found only weak correlations between degrading land and rural population density and with biophysical factors such aridity. The researchers conclude that more detailed analysis of land use history is needed to uncover the underlying social and economic drivers of land degradation.


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Contact: Samantha Holford
sholford@wiley.com
44-186-547-6269
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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