ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Action Plan for Drylands


Land degradation, water scarcity, poverty, and hunger are major problems faced by drylands across the world. Drylands have been characterised by a combination of low precipitation, droughts and heatwaves, as well as human activities such as firewood collection, livestock grazing, the collection of wood and non-wood forest products and farming. Dryland soils tend to be vulnerable to wind and water erosion, subject to intensive mineral weathering, and of low fertility (due to the low content of organic matter in the topsoil). The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines drylands according to an aridity index, which is the ratio between average annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration; drylands are lands with an aridity index of less than 0.65.

When land degradation occurs in the drylands, it is referred to as desertification, which is one of the most destructive disasters in drylands, damaging crops and livestock, and trapping millions of people in poverty. The severity and frequency of the droughts also increase with land degradation in drylands. The global economic losses recorded from drought disasters from 1900 to 2013 totalled $135 billion, according to the Global Land Outlook report. A recent World Bank report estimates that if no action is taken, more than 143 million people could be displaced by 2050 due to desertification. The association between land degradation, poverty, and hunger was established by the Food and Agricultural Organization and World Bank studies, and hence they need to be addressed simultaneously.

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Updated On : 23rd Nov, 2018
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