The Ecological Economics of Land Degradation The soil
The Ecological Economics of Land Degradation The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life. Wendell Berry Dr. Sharolyn J. Anderson Dr. Paul C. Sutton ANZSEE Conference Armidale, NSW October 2015 Environmental and Geospatial Sciences School of the Natural and Built Environments University of South Australia 1
Land Degradation Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of humaninduced processes acting upon the land. How does it manifest? Chemical deterioration Wind erosion Physical deterioration Water erosion http://eld-initiative.org/ Land degradation threatens fertile land and the benefits human society derives from it throughout the world.
10-20% of drylands are degraded 24% of agriculturally productive lands are degraded Consequences: Food insecurity Poverty Less Fresh Water More vulnerability to climate change ~1.5 Billion people suffer from land degradation What is the Economics of Land degradation? Is this really just a story about agricultural economics? If so, Agriculture represents only about $1.7 Trillion / year. Global GDP (2010) is roughly $63 Trillion / year. That means agriculture is only about 2.7% of GDP.
The maximum value of ag land would be $1.7 Trillion / year. We present an ecological economics approach that suggests that the value of land and the cost of land degradation is about much more than the market value of agriculture. We use the ideas of ecosystem service valuation to address some of the questions regarding the economics of land degradation. Ecosystem Services are a multi-faceted Market Failure Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services suggests that the Total value of the worlds Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital are Signifcantly larger the the worlds Market Economy. Gross World Product
~ $65 Trillion Economic Value of Worlds Eco-Services ~$125 Trillion These findings are ridiculed, violently opposed, and accepted as having always been true. Also described as an underestimate of infinity. Costanza, R; dArge, R; de Groot, R; Farber, S; Grasso, M; Hannon, B; Naeem, S; Limburg, K; Paruelo, J; ONeill, R; Raskin, R; Sutton, P; van den Belt, M; (1997)
The Value of the Worlds Ecosystem Services and 5 Natural Capital Nature Vol 387 May 15 Changes in the Global Value of Ecosystem Services due to land cover change only Total Global Value for Ecosystem Services would have been: $145 Trillion / year (2010 Global GDP is ~$ 65 Trillion) Losses since 1997 $20.2 Trillion / year Article in Global Environmental Change: What about losses from
Changes in the global value ofdegradation? ecosystem services Robert Costanza, Ph.D.; Rudolph de Groot, Ph.D.; Paul C Sutton, Ph.D.; Sander van der Ploeg, Ph.D.; Sharolyn Anderson, Ph.D.; Ida Kubiszewski, Ph.D.; Stephen Farber, Ph.D.; R. Kerry Turner, Ph.D. GLASOD: Global Assessment of Soil Degradation Map of degradation based on expert opinion with categories of light medium High
very high This dataset not amenable to quantitative GIS analysis Spatial Analysis Approach 1) Land degradation results in impaired ecological function 2) Impaired ecological function results in reduced ecosystem service value 3) Map of land degradation overlaid on Ecosystem service values can provide an estimate of the lost dollar value of ecosystem services Data #1: Ecosystem Service Values
D Data #2: Land Degradation HANPP http://www.fao.org/geonetwork/srv/en/metadata.show?id=370 Data #3: Land Degradation NPP act / NPP pot https://www.uni-klu.ac.at/socec/inhalt/1191.htm The Australia Story Total Value of Terrestrial ESV $3.3 Trillion ESV Loss
(HANPP assessment ) $79 Billion / year (2.4%) ESV Loss (NPP assessment) $224 Billion / year (6.8%) Watch your billions & trillions The Mekong Delta Story Country Laos Thailand Cambodia
Viet Nam Myanmar Total ESV $/year 110,805,683,156 278,217,006,344 103,682,202,311 162,603,792,051 369,854,638,360 Country Laos Thailand Cambodia Viet Nam Myanmar Lost ESV $/year (NPP)
10,858,956,949 27,265,266,622 10,160,855,826 15,935,171,621 36,245,754,559 Country Laos Thailand Cambodia Viet Nam Myanmar % Degraded 10 32 19 18
15 Lost ESV $/year (HANPP) % Degraded 9,086,066,019 8 97,932,386,233 35 22,913,766,711 22 66,504,950,949 41 79,518,747,247 22 The Germany Story Total Value of Terrestrial ESV
$179 Billion ESV Loss (HANPP assessment ) $114 Billion / year (63.9%) ESV Loss (NPP assessment) $4.8 Billion / year (2.7%) The Bolivia Story Total Value of Terrestrial ESV $1.3 Trillion ESV Loss
(HANPP assessment ) $21 Billion / year (1.7 %) ESV Loss (NPP assessment) $ 53 Billion / year (4.2%) The Global Story: Land Degradation has caused loss of $6.3 10.6 Trillion / year ( over 10% of have GDP)
We lost ecosystem service value as a function of reduced or impaired ecological function. This is a simplified representation of land degradation as a proxy measure of impaired or reduced ecological function to make an estimate of the reduced value of ecosystem services caused by land degradation. Our estimates based on two proxy measures of land degradation are $6.3 and $10.6 Trillion dollars per year. This suggests that the dollar value of ESV losses from land degradation is roughly 30 55 % of the dollar value of losses from land cover changes over the last 15 years. These measures of land degradation are mostly associated with changes to agricultural lands around the world. The lower estimate of lost ESV of $6.3 Trillion per year is more than three times larger than the entire value of agriculture in the market economy. The ecological economics of land degradation suggests that the economics of land degradation is about a lot more than agriculture.
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