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Land Restoration

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May 08, 2023

Why in news?

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has released the Global Land Outlook report highlighting the depletion of finite land resources and the need to urgently restore the world’s land.

Why land restoration is important?

  • Land restoration - Defined as the continuum of activities that avoid, reduce, and reverse land degradation with the explicit objective of meeting human needs and improving biodiversity.
  • Solves interconnected crisis - Land acts as an operative link between biodiversity loss and climate change which can solve various interconnected climate crisis.
  • Equitable and sustainable future - Effective land restoration, coupled with efforts to meet future needs is essential to recover from the current crises.
  • It is also essential to move towards an equitable and sustainable future.
  • Economic benefits - Each dollar invested in land restoration activities has also been estimated to return between $7 and $30 in economic benefits in future.
  • Sustainable Development Goals - According to U.N. General Assembly, achieving ‘land degradation neutrality’ is an effective way to accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • Sustainable food production - Sustainable land use planning and productivity within our agricultural practices will be the key to switch to sustainability in global food systems.
  • Global warming - Land and ecosystem restoration will help slow global warming.
  • Reduce disaster - Land and ecosystem restoration will reduce the scale and frequency of disasters like droughts, floods and so on.
  • Planetary boundaries - Restoration of lands can stop the breach of planetary boundaries.

UNCCD defines ‘land degradation neutrality’ as “a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems”.

What are the impacts of land degradation?

  • Global warming and environmental degradation.
  • Rise in poverty, hunger, inequality and zoonotic disease transmission.
  • Loss of forest land.
  • Soil and water degradation.
  • Fractures the supply chains that connects the suppliers and producers.
  • Great risk to global food security.

What are the ways to restore land?

  • Sustainable management - Adopting sustainable land and water management practices.
  • Livelihoods - Improving livelihoods and preparing for future challenges with the eventual goal of sustaining all life forms on the planet.
  • Integrated land use planning - Identifying the best combination of land uses which is both sustainable to meet the needs of the stakeholders as well as preserve the land resources is an efficient way to address land degradation.
  • Regenerative agricultural practices - Like terrace farming and rainwater harvesting should be followed.
  • Inclusive and responsible governance - Is crucial to facilitate the shift to sustainable land use and management practices.
  • Cost-effective approach - A best way to restore the lands and global hotspots which can maximize the economic benefits of the land.
  • Others - Revitalizing soil, watersheds, and other elements of natural ecosystems.
  • The drought conditions needs to be addressed.
  • The health of the soil needs to be restored.

Land Degradation 2023

Quick facts

Planetary Boundaries

  • Planetary boundaries are the thresholds of environmental limits that define a “safe operating space for humanity”.
  • The nine planetary boundaries are
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Land-use change
  • Climate change
  • Nitrogen & phosphorus (geochemical) cycles
  • Freshwater use
  • Ocean acidification
  • Chemical pollution
  • Atmospheric loading
  • Ozone depletion
  • Of these 9 planetary boundaries, climate change, biodiversity loss, land-use change, and geochemical cycles have already been exceeded.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

  • UNCCD is the global voice for land.
  • UNCCD promote practices that avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation.
  •  UNCCD is the driving force behind Sustainable Development Goal 15 and Land Degradation Neutrality.
  • The UNCCD works to engage governments, international organizations, scientists, farmers, private enterprise and local communities
    • To promote sustainable practices and shared knowledge that help improve land productivity and create a more resilient future.
  • Global Land Outlook report is published by UNCCD.


  1. The Hindu│ Land Degradation And Its Impacts
  2. UNCCD│ About UNCCD
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