Soil Degradation and Migrations in the Age of the Global Environmental Crisis: A Policy-Making Perspective

  • Grammenos Mastrojeni
Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP, volume 2016)


There is a gap between science and policy in assessing the impact of soil degradation on migrations: policy is concluding that there is a cause-to-effect connection, already propelling massive population movements; and that action has to be taken now, even though its analysis is not yet confirmed with quantitative rigor. In the policy perspective, soil acquires a special status as an aggregator of ecosystem services that needs to be protected to prevent socio-economic and political instability which, in turn, are push factors for migrations: a set of relevant interactions between the state of soil, societal cohesion, and migration has been identified, centered on ecosystem services failures. Conversely, soil appears as a “practical object of intervention” because, more than other environmental variables, lands are concrete, localized, and understood as a fundamental value by human communities. Protecting them is likely to start comprehensive cycles of environmental and socio-economic rebalancing, with the potential of moderating population displacements. Land proper management and recovery could cost-effectively produce carbon sinks, hydric balance, biodiversity protection, food security, societal cohesion, gender benefits and more: a trans-sector approach to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


Carbon sink Climate change Desertification Ecosystem services Environment Feed-back loop Interactions Interlinkages Land degradation Migration Population displacements Security Soil Sustainable development goals 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Italian Development CooperationRomeItaly

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