Demand, Supply, Sustainability and Security
Edited by Raghbendra Jha, Raghav Gaiha and Anil B. Deolalikar
Chapter 17: Land degradation, water scarcity and sustainability
Land degradation and water scarcity are factors that have direct negative consequences on the general status of ecosystems and their inhabitants. Excessive anthropogenic activities in agriculture, forestry and industrial sectors resulted in significant negative effect on soil health and water sustainability. Soil, a product of long natural processes that take thousands of years to produce its present form, is an overlooked limited natural resource. Land degradation affects more than 33 per cent of the planet's surface area, leading to negative consequences for 2.6 billion people in more than 100 countries. The challenges of growing water scarcity are exacerbated by groundwater depletion, water pollution, degradation of water-related ecosystems, wasteful water use and land degradation. There are enough indications that water use exceeds sustainable levels. Producing food to feed everyone well, including the 2 billion additional people expected to inhabit the earth by mid-century, will place greater pressure on available water and land resources.
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