Handbook on Food
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Handbook on Food

Demand, Supply, Sustainability and Security

Edited by Raghbendra Jha, Raghav Gaiha and Anil B. Deolalikar

The global population is forecasted to reach 9.4 billion by 2050, with much of this increase concentrated in developing regions and cities. Ensuring adequate food and nourishment to this large population is a pressing economic, moral and even security challenge and requires research (and action) from a multi-disciplinary perspective. This book provides the first such integrated approach to tackling this problem by addressing the multiplicity of challenges posed by rising global population, diet diversification and urbanization in developing countries and climate change.
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Chapter 17: Land degradation, water scarcity and sustainability

Manab Das, Debashish Goswami, Anshuman and Alok Adholeya


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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