Globally 10 – 20% of drylands and 24% of the world’s farmland is degraded. The consequences are the loss of farmland and water resources to the desert and, thereafter, poverty, starvation, and often war and mass emigration.
ELD research estimates that land degradation has a price tag of € 5.7 to 9.6 trillion annually. These estimate include the calculation of the opportunity cost of things like pollination in agriculture or losses in water quality. This capital can be recovered only through investment in sustainable land management. A case study presented in the report is from a reforestation project in Mali; where each Euro brings € 12 returns in crop yields over time.
About one-third of Africa is threatened by desertification that is triggered by the clearance of tropical forests, pollution and over-grazing
A study in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published in March 2015 linked the War to Syria highlighted to man-made climate change. Specifically, the article argues that the Syrian uprising in 2011 was preceded by the most severe drought on record. Because of Syria’s poor governance, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest. The environmental argument that Syria may be only the beginning. Precipitation changes in Syria are linked to rising mean sea-level pressure and warming in the Eastern Mediterranean. These are caused by increases in greenhouse gases.