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Land


The pressure on land resources has increased in recent years. Economic growth has come at the expense of natural resources and ecosystems, for example, due to perverse incentives, deforestation and forest degradation alone will likely cost the global economy more than the losses in the 2008 financial crisis. Improving land-resource and sustainable land management systems to prevent land degradation, including soil erosion, has been increasingly recognized as an important goal, and there are many examples of effective progress. Coordinated efforts in the Brazilian Amazon have shown that innovative policies on forest monitoring, land tenure and law enforcement, together with consumer-driven initiatives, can have a significant impact on lowering deforestation rates.


Figure 3: Change in global population and in meat, fish and seafood supplies, 1992–2007


OPEN PDF: http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/SPM-03-keeping-track-global-pop.pdf 


Some forestry and agroforestry systems, as well as efforts to reduce land conversion to other uses, offer examples that can result in the maintenance and enhancement of terrestrial carbon stocks and contribute to conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Appropriate forest management could include natural regeneration of degraded forests and reforestation, regulating the diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes with comprehensive mechanisms for compensatory afforestation and the adoption of agroforestry. Efforts to better understand ecosystem services provided by various land uses, as well as the valuation of natural capital, are at an early stage of development and should be strengthened. Overall, however, the challenges are severe and successes relatively few in number.

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