Zero net land degradation: a sustainable development goal for Rio+2

Soils are the most significant nonrenewable geo-resource that have for ensuring water, energy, and food security for present and future generations while adapting and building resilience to climatic change and shocks. But soil’s caring capacity is often forgotten as the missing link in our pursuit of sustainable development. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations expects an 11% increase in average per capita calorie consumption between 2003 and 2050. An estimated additional 120 million hectares will be needed to support the required growth in food production by 2030 assuming current practices. That’s a brand new farm the size of South Africa. Unless degraded land is rehabilitated, forests and other natural lands will have to be converted to make way for agricultural production. Land degradation and desertification adversely affect food security, water security, energy security, biodiversity, and many ecosystem services. They also compromise the associated recreational, heritage and cultural values. Global peace and political stability are threatened when basic needs of food and water are not adequately met.