Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The slumbering giant: land and water degradation

Contents:

Author Info

  • Noble, Andrew
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Who feeds the world? Two billion small-scale farmers who in addition to feeding themselves also produce surpluses for local markets — these are the food producers for a global population. Domestic markets along with the food consumed by the producers’ families constitute more than 70% of the world’s food consumption and are often overlooked in the food security debate. The importance of these producers to overall global food security is not in dispute, but can these farming systems continue to perform at current or improved levels, considering the influence of human-induced land and water degradation and associated effects on ecosystem services? Soil erosion, depletion of nutrients and soil organic matter, salinisation and surface and groundwater pollution are challenges that have confronted agricultural and urban communities for decades, and still do. Land degradation associated with inappropriate and unsustainable land use practices is estimated to affect 5–10 Mha annually; 34 Mha of global irrigated areas is affected by salinisation; it is estimated that 25% of global freshwater storage capacity will be lost in the next 25–50 years unless measures are taken to control sedimentation in reservoirs; approximately 2 Mt of waste is dumped into rivers, lakes and wetlands each day; and it is estimated that there are now 12,000 km3 of polluted water on the planet, a volume greater than the contents of the world’s ten biggest river basins. This litany of land and water degradation issues represents a diminished ability of ecosystems or landscapes to support functions and services required to sustain livelihoods. Small-scale farmers, the engine of global food supply, are the mainstay of most developing country rural economies and often occupy marginal and vulnerable lands. It makes sound economic sense to address this ‘slumbering giant’ of degradation through increased conservation investments in land and water resources within this sector. Whilst technologies, technology packages and management practices have been developed that demonstrate the practicalities of addressing these resource degradation issues, adoption at scale has been disappointing. Government institutions and development and research organisations are tasked with sustainably securing future food supplies. Their central challenge is to develop greater insights into constraints inhibiting adoption of productivity-enhancing and conserving interventions, and to identify the driving factors and relevant levers to address these constraints. Time may not be on our side in addressing land and water degradation, central to one of the nine thresholds that define ‘a safe operating space for humanity’.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/152413
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Crawford Fund in its series Conference Proceedings 2012 with number 152413.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: Oct 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ags:cfcp12:152413

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.crawfordfund.org/home.html

    Related research

    Keywords: International Development; Land Economics/Use; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Ellis, Frank & Mdoe, Ntengua, 2003. "Livelihoods and Rural Poverty Reduction in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1367-1384, August.
    2. Wiebe, Keith D., 2003. "Linking Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, And Food Security," Agricultural Economics Reports 34073, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:cfcp12:152413. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.