3 Challenges Run Deep

Some key findings in this section…
  • Risks run deep: The slow-onset risks of human-induced land degradation, soil erosion, salinization and groundwater pollution are not perceived as urgent risks, but they run deep and are persistent.
  • Land degradation is reversible: remedial land management is possible but only under much- reformed land and water governance. Planning a way out of this downward spiral of land degradation offers promise when combined with forward-looking climate finance for mitigation and adaptation.
  • Food security is threatened by water scarcity: Groundwater depletion affects vulnerable rural populations and national food security.
  • Risk awareness is key: Farmers and resource managers need to be much more risk aware and work together with planners in setting their responses and contingency planning.
Risks proliferate: Pressures on land and water resources come from within agriculture and the wider food system from food losses and waste, coupled with the uncertainty of climate forcing the proliferation of emerging pollutants in soils and water. (See map on page 32.)
The risk to human-induced land degradation primarily affects cropland. Almost a third of rainfed cropland and nearly a half of irrigated land are subject to risk from human-induced land degradation.
©FAO/Yasuyoshi Chiba