Half of world's pastures degraded by overuse, climate change, UN report says

SINGAPORE (Reuters): Half the world's natural pasture land has been degraded by overexploitation and the impact of climate change, putting food supplies and livelihoods in peril, the United Nations body in charge of fighting desertification said on Tuesday.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) warned that a sixth of the world's food supplies were at risk from the deterioration of the world's rangelands - which include savannas, wetlands and deserts as well as grassland.

Population growth, urbanisation and rising food demand have encouraged herders to rear more animals than the land can support, and have also driven the conversion of natural pastures into intensive cropland, leading to declines in soil fertility and worsening droughts, it said.

Barron Joseph Orr, UNCCD's chief scientist, said that while the situation was bleak, there was a growing recognition that land restoration is part of the solution to climate change - with rangelands accounting for a third of the world's carbon reservoir capacity.

"Emissions are the big issue for sure, but where do we want to put the carbon - where does it naturally belong? In our soils and in our vegetation, and if you keep undermining that, you undermine your solution," he said.

Rangelands constitute about 54% of the world's total land and support two billion farmers, herders and ranchers, the UNCCD report said.

The previous estimate of degradation was 25%, but UNCCD said it severely undercounted the damage done, with its new figure based on surveys from experts in more than 40 countries.

The report identified Central Asia, China and Mongolia as the most badly hit, with agricultural industrialisation displacing traditional herding communities and putting more pressure on resources. Africa, the Middle East and South America have also seen widespread degradation, it said.

Orr said governments needed to take a more joined-up approach to the protection of land rather than focusing on individual restoration projects. He also said that traditional herding practices could help rangelands recover.

"In general, the way things were done in the past, traditionally, can go a long way towards the solutions that we're trying to achieve today," he said.

"They worked for a long, long time and they can work again, given the right circumstances."

(Reporting by David Stanway Editing by Mark Potter) - Reuters

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

World , Natural Pasture , Half , Worn Out , Climate , Issues


Next In Aseanplus News

India boosts defence ties with Bangladesh as it tries to become a counterweight to China
F1 team McLaren evacuates hospitality suite when fire breaks out before Spanish GP practice
Sg Bakap polls: BN to rally support for Pakatan candidate, says Tok Mat
Asean News Headlines at 10pm on Saturday (June 22, 2024)
Runaway golf buggy plunges off second tier of driving range at Singapore's Keppel Club
At least 42 killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza City refugee camp, neighbourhood
Vietnam power generation, daily consumption hit new record high amid heatwave
Thai PM Srettha touts plans for casinos and nuclear power in first TV talk
Indonesian ministry and Bank Syariah commit to global halal hub in Indonesia
Philippines council recommends continuing resupply missions to South China Sea shoal

Others Also Read