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Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement – A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development

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  • Develops a conceptual framework for a more comprehensive assessment of the costs of land degradation by including the value of land ecosystem services

  • Provides practical analytical methods for determining the costs and drivers of land degradation at various scales

  • Demonstrates the application of these concepts and methods at the national level through 12 case studies

  • Includes supplementary material:

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About this book

This volume deals with land degradation, which is occurring in almost all terrestrial biomes and agro-ecologies, in both low and high income countries and is stretching to about 30% of the total global land area. About three billion people reside in these degraded lands. However, the impact of land degradation is especially severe on livelihoods of the poor who heavily depend on natural resources. The annual global cost of land degradation due to land use and cover change (LUCC) and lower cropland and rangeland productivity is estimated to be about 300 billion USD. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for the largest share (22%) of the total global cost of land degradation. Only about 38% of the cost of land degradation due to LUCC - which accounts for 78% of the US$300 billion loss – is borne by land users and the remaining share (62%) is borne by consumers of ecosystem services off the farm.
The results in this volume indicate that reversing land degradation trends makes both economic sense, and has multiple social and environmental benefits. On average, one US dollar investment into restoration of degraded land returns five US dollars. The findings of the country case studies call for increased investments into the rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands, including through such institutional and policy measures as strengthening community participation for sustainable land management, enhancing government effectiveness and rule of law,
improving access to markets and rural services, and securing land tenure.   
The assessment in this volume has been conducted at a time when there is an elevated interest in private land investments and when global efforts to achieve sustainable development objectives have intensified. In this regard, the results of this volume can contribute significantly to the ongoing policy debate and efforts to design strategies for achieving sustainable development goals and related efforts to address land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

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Table of contents (21 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, USA

    Ephraim Nkonya

  • Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

    Alisher Mirzabaev, Joachim von Braun

About the editors

Prof. Joachim von Braun

Joachim von Braun is Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, and Professor for economic and technological change.  von Braun’s main research interests are in sustainable economic development, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, resource economics, trade, science and technology policy. He is chair of the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal German Government; Vice-President of the NGO “Welthungerhilfe”, Vice Chair of the Board of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), member of two German Academies, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican; fellow of African Academy of Science. He was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, DC, U.S.A. from 2002 to 2009, and President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE).

Dr. Alisher Mirzabaev

Dr. Alisher Mirzabaev is a senior researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn. His current research areas include economics of land degradation, bioenergy and the wate

r-energy-food security nexus. Before joining ZEF in 2009, he was an economist with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). He holds a PhD Degree from the University of Bonn in Germany for his thesis on the economics of climate change in Central Asia.


Dr. Ephraim M. Nkonya

Dr. Ephraim Nkonya is a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington D.C. Ephraim leads an IFPRI program on land resources for poverty reduction. He earned his masters and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from Kansas State university from 1992 – 1999. He has published widely in referred journals, books and book chapters on issues related to natural resource management, poverty reduction, climate change and role of rural services on poverty reduction. He is a member of the editorial board of the African Journal of Agricultural and Resourc

e Economics. He also serves as a reviewer to a large number of referred journals.       

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement – A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development

  • Editors: Ephraim Nkonya, Alisher Mirzabaev, Joachim von Braun

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Economics and Finance, Economics and Finance (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2016

  • License: CC BY-NC

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-19167-6Published: 01 December 2015

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-36426-1Published: 23 August 2016

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-19168-3Published: 11 November 2015

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVIII, 686

  • Topics: Environmental Economics

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