JRC publishes new World Atlas of Desertification
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is publishing a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification today. The Atlas provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures. The previous edition was published twenty years ago.
The Atlas provides examples of how human activity drives species to extinction, threatens food security, intensifies climate change and leads to people being displaced from their homes. The main findings show that population growth and changes in our consumption patterns put unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources, with over 75% of the Earth's land area is already degraded, and over 90% could become degraded by 2050. The economic cost of soil degradation for the EU is estimated to be in the order of tens of billions of euros annually.
The Atlas gives a clear overview of the underlying causes of degradation worldwide. It also contains a large number of facts, forecasts and global datasets that can be used to identify important biophysical and socio-economic processes that, on their own or combined, can lead to unsustainable land use and land degradation.
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