Economics of sustainable land management . ( A. Mirzabaev, E. Nkonya, Joachim von Braun) in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Volume 15, August 2015, Pages 9–19
Degradation of soil and land resources is a critical global problem. It is widespread not only in drylands and cropped areas, but in most agro-ecologies and biomes around the world. Unless addressed, it may undermine global food security and negatively affect the livelihoods of billions of people, especially of the poor. Addressing land degradation requires public, community and private actions informed and supported by evidence-based research. The current paper reviews the recent economic literature on land degradation and improvement with the purpose of highlighting major new insights and continuing gaps. Drawing conclusions from the recent research under the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, the authors find that action against land degradation has considerably higher economic, environmental and social returns than inaction. The objective of the current paper is to review the recent advances in economic literature on land degradation. In doing so, the paper seeks to answer three research questions:
(1) what are the costs of land degradation at the global and regional levels, and how do the costs of action against land degradation compare with the costs of inaction?,
(2) what are the new insights on the drivers of land degradation and on its socio-economic impacts?, and
(3) what are the major continuing gaps in economic studies of land degradation?