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Population and Land Degradation

  • By: Julia Mambo
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The debate about population and land degradation has spanned decades, if not longer, with contrasting perceptions of whether people are victims of land degradation or land is a victim of anthropogenic influences. While the debate rages on, the impacts of land degradation on human well-being and development are self-evident. Land degradation is commonly defined by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) as the reduction or loss of biological and economical productivity and of the complexity of terrestrial ecosystems. This includes soils, vegetation, other biota, and the ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological processes that operate within ecosystems. This definition does not characterize degradation as entirely anthropogenic, despite unsustainable land use by humans being a key driver of land degradation.

Population Growth

Human population growth has been cited ...

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