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APPENDIX 1: Hot Spots of Land Degradation

Nutrient Depletion


Constraints to Yield Increases


Deforestation in Threatened Habitat

Vegetation Degradation

Water Scarcity or Conflict

Agrochemical Pollution

South and West Asia

Mid-altitude hills of Nepal (with decline in nutrient supplements from forests)

Poor soil quality in areas of northeastern India in transition to permanent agriculture

Indus, Tigris and Euphrates River basins

Rice-wheat region (unspecified stagnation)

Lack of suitable technology for marginal arable lands in Syria. Jordan and Iran

Foothills of the Himalayas

Conversion of rangelands in West Asia to grain production, creating erosion

Rangelands, trans-Himalaya, West Asia, Pakistan, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh in India

Grazing land in mid-altitude hills of Nepal, India and Pakistan

Conflict in arid and semi-arid regions, especially the Euphrates River (Turkey, Syria and Iraq) and he Jordan River (Syria, Jordan and Israel)

Depletion of the water table due to overpumping of wells (Syria)

Heavy use of pesticides on cotton in Turkey

East and Southeast Asia

Nutrient mining in sandy soils of northeastern Thailand and remote upland areas in the region

Poor quality soil in Myanmar, degrading in transition to permanent agriculture

Northeastern Thailand and China

Stagnant yields of intensive irrigated rice in dense areas of Java, China, the Philippines and Vietnam (waterlogging, nutrient imbalance)

Sloping areas in southern China and Southeast Asia

Loss of biodiversity with forest clearing

Forest frontier of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Expansion of Imperata grasslands in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines

Grazing lands in mid-altitude hills of Myanmar

Devegetation of mangroves and drainage problems in coastal peats and acid sulphate soils

Conflict in high density areas

Urban water quality problems

Water pollution in high density areas and coastal areas

Pollution from peri-urban agriculture

Coastal and delta degradation due to sedimentation


Semi-arid croplands of Burkina Faso and Senegal (leading to outmigration)

Large areas under transition to short fallow or permanent cropping

Reduction of silt deposits in the Nile Delta following construction of the Aswan High Dam

Nile Delta

Unsustainability of annual crops in humid lowlands of West Africa

Densely populated highlands in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya-no obvious source of productivity increase

Lack of suitable technology for crops grown in areas below 300 millimeters of rainfall in North Africa

Poorly developed seed industry in North Africa

Subhumid southeastern Nigeria on sandy soils

Wind erosion in Sahel

Mechanization in North Africa causing water and wind erosion

Mechanization with inappropriate plowing techniques, leading to devegetation and loss of topsoil (for example, transition zone in West Africa)

Conflicts between farming and protected areas in Madagascar

Arid and semi-arid rangelands devegetation (for example, Ciskei), particularly near water sources

Devegetation due to intensive collection of wood fuel

Devegetation due to overstocking (for example, Morocco and Tunisia)

Reduced yields due to Imperata and Chromlaena infestation in degraded soils

Water conflicts: Nile River, Niger River, Logone River, Chari River and (pumping for irrigation) Senegal River

Exhaustion of irrigation potential in North Africa by 2020 Nile and Senegal

River systems problem of allocation of water between agricultural and urban growth

Latin America

Subhumid Central American hillsides
Semi-arid Andean valleys

Northeastern Brazil

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Caribbean Basin lowlands intensification

Northern Mexico

Highland irrigation systems

South American irrigation zones

Subhumid Central American hillsides

Semi-arid Andean Valley


Cerrados of Brazil

Humid Amazon and Central American hillsides

Lower Amazon Basin

Itapua, Paraguay

Pacific rainforest of Colombia and Ecuador

Chaco region

Atlantic lowlands of Central America

Overgrazing in Haiti

Northeast Brazil

Lower Amazon Brazil

Overgrazing in Caribbean Basin lowlands

Paramo water scarcity

Banana plantation pollution

Santa Cruz, Bolivia, intensive agriculture

Peri-urban agriculture in Mexico City

Source: Scherr and Yadav (1995)

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