“[Degradation is] pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction, and costing more than 10 per cent of the annual global gross product in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
“More carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life… the world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50% and 70% of their original carbon stock.”
“During the next two decades if soil losses continue unchecked in Africa, the potential rain fed crop production will decline about 15%, in Southeast Asia, production will fall about 19%, and in Southwest Asia, more than 41%.”
“World soil, including European and British soils, could vanish within about 60 years if drastic action is not taken.”
Livestock over-stocking and poor herd management are major causes of degradation in range-lands .. and dry-lands. Desertification affects more than 2.7 billion people in almost all countries. This is not a third world issue: 30 percent of the United States is affected by desertification.
Land degradation and desertification leads to refugees. Already millions of people have abandoned their ancestral land, and by 2020 there are expected to be 135 million refugees from sub-Saharan Aftica alone, uprooted by desertification.