Health and Terrestrial Ecosystems | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
March 2021
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ISBN / Resource ID: 
UNCCD:600000117

Ecosystems and Biodiversity Facts and Figures

# The IPBES Report (5) stated that “around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history”.
# The Report also outlined that the average abundance of native species in most major landbased habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900;
# more than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened; although the picture is less clear for insect species, available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened; and at least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and
# more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1000 more breeds still threatened.
# “Approximately 60% (15 out of 24) of the ecosystem services examined… are being degraded or used unsustainably” (1).
# The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, a 2019 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, noted a debilitating loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species (12).
# Since 1993, the Red List Index has declined from 0.82 to 0.74 globally (4). The Red List Index measures changes in species extinction risk and includes more than 20 000 animal and plant species, showing an increasing risk as species decline.
# The State of the World’s Biodiversity report in February 2019 found that 63% of plants, 11% of birds and
5% of fish and fungi were in decline (12).
# As of January 2018, on average, 44% of global key biodiversity areas (KBAs) for freshwater, 47% for terrestrial and 48% for mountain were covered by protected areas (4).
# The 2014 Global Biodiversity Outlook projected that out of 53 target elements of the Aichi biodiversity targets within the current Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, only five were on track to be reached by 2020 (4).
# For 200 million people, degrading coastal mangrove ecosystems weakens the protection of their livelihoods and food security from storm surges and rising sea levels (13).

Food production Facts and Figures

# Production of food has severe impacts on global biodiversity, accounting for about 60% of terrestrial biodiversity loss (4).
# About one third of soils is moderately to highly degraded; additionally, water extraction for agriculture and other uses, as well as pollution, threatens freshwater ecosystems (4).
# Humans are dependent on just three crops – rice, wheat and maize – for nearly half of plant-based calories, and this lack of diversity makes us more vulnerable (14).
# Globally, three out of four crops producing fruits or seeds for human food use depend, at least in part, on pollinators, yet 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, particularly bees and butterflies, and 17% of vertebrate pollinators, such as bats and birds, are threatened with extinction (12,15).
# Collated data from 91 countries show that many species that are indirectly involved in food production, such as birds that eat crop pests and mangrove trees that help to purify water, are less abundant than in the past (12).
# Land degradation adversely affects around 3.2 billion people and threatens the livelihoods of over 1 billion people globally (16).
# Approximately 20% of the earth’s vegetated surface has become less productive (12). Between 1998 and 2003, up to 2.4 billion hectares of land showed declining productivity, affecting 19% of cropland, 16% of forestland, 19% of grassland and 28% of rangeland (4).
# Globally, an estimated 2 billion hectares, equivalent to 17% of all biologically productive land, could benefit from restoration.
# In 2016, the estimated number of undernourished people worldwide was 815 million; an increase from 777 million in 2015; although this is a reduction from the estimate of 900 million in 2000, this reversal of downward trend is observed most notably in situations of conflict combined with droughts, floods environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity (17).
# Micronutrient malnutrition affects as many as 2 billion people, typically caused by a lack of access to food of sufficient variety and quality (13).
# While net annual forest area loss was 7.3 million hectares in 2000, it fell to 3.3 million hectares in 2015. In 2015, forests covered about 4 billion hectares, 31% of the world’s land area (16).
# The most dramatic declines occur in Latin America, south-eastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Human Health impacts Facts and figures
# Climate change is expected to lead to an increased frequency and severity of allergic diseases through increases in air pollution (both as a cause and a consequence of climate change), elevated groundlevel ozone concentration and extreme weather events such as thunderstorms and wildfires (19,21,22).
# Climate change is exacerbating biodiversity loss and, in turn, many of the ecosystems affected, such as oceans and forests, are important carbon sinks (13).
# In 2017, climate-related disasters caused acute food insecurity for approximately 39 million people across 23 countries (13).

Land Degradation, ecosystems degradation Facts and Figures:

➡ Every minute, 23 hectares of arable land are lost due to drought and desertification.
➡ Over the last two decades, approximately 20 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface has shown persistent declining trends in productivity, mainly due to unsustainable land and water use and management practices.
➡ Every year, 13 million hectares of forest are lost that are home to more than 80 per cent of all land-based species and which provide livelihood to 1.6 billion people.
➡ The increased vulnerability to environment stresses, especially of the poor, women and children, can lead to an intensified competition for scarce natural resources and result in migration, instability and conflict.
➡ Women and girls are disproportionately and differently affected by environmental degradation, pollution and natural and human-made disasters, and it is important to recognize the fundamental contributions of women to the conservation, protection and management of ecosystems and natural resources.
➡ Increased security of tenure and gender equity can be enabling factors for the adoption and scale up of more responsible land management practices.

Human activity has altered almost 75 per cent of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet and increasing risks of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19.

Forests Facts and Figures

* Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people.
* Forests are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
* Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion.
* Currently, land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 per cent of the global terrestrial area, and between $235 billion and $577 billion in annual global crop output is at risk as a result of pollinator loss.

Desertification Land Degradation Facts and Figures

* Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate
* Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute). Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.
* 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.
* Habitat loss and deterioration, largely caused by human actions, have reduced global terrestrial habitat integrity by 30 per cent relative to an unimpacted baseline.

Biodiversity Facts and Figures

* Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries.
* Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction.
* Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use.
* Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.
* Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 per cent of energy intake.
* As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-­‐based medicines for basic healthcare.
* Micro-organisms and invertebrates are key to ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly known and rarely acknowledged.
* While protected areas now cover 15 per cent of terrestrial and freshwater environments and 7 per cent of the marine realm, they only partly cover important sites for biodiversity and are not yet fully ecologically representative and effectively or equitably managed.

Ecosystems degradation , drylands, land degradation, desertification Facts and Figures

> Every year, 13 million hectares of forests are lost, while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares, disproportionately affecting poor communities.
>1.6 billion - Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods.
> 80% - Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
> 2.6 billion - 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture for a living.
> 33% - Nature-based climate solutions can contribute about a third of CO2 reductions by 2030.
> $125 trillion - The value of ecosystems to human livelihoods and well-being is $US125 trillion per year.
> 60-80% - Mountain regions provide 60-80 percent of the Earth's fresh water.
> A recent UN report on biodiversity found that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.
> Every year, some two million people, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, die from neglected zoonotic diseases. The same outbreaks can cause severe illness, deaths, and productivity losses among livestock populations in the developing world, a major problem that keeps hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers in severe poverty.
> In the last two decades alone, zoonotic diseases have caused economic losses of more than $100 billion, not including the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to reach $9 trillion over the next few years.

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The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.

 

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