By 2030, about half of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, with 24-700 million people at risk of being displaced. As much as 2 billion ha of agricultural land has already been degraded, losing up to $40 billion worth of production annually from soil erosion alone. Globally, arable land per capita has decreased from around 0.5 ha in the 1960s to a predicted 0.15 ha per capita in 2050.
Land and water are under enormous pressures: shifting demographic developments, changes in lifestyles and consumer habits, increasing competition between food and biofuel production and a push towards carbon sequestration are placing considerable demands on land resources. These pressures are advancing land degradation at an alarming rate, raising concerns over food, poverty and political security. Climate change will compound these pressures, increasing the vulnerabilities of populations and their ecosystems. Ways to channel scientifically sound, evidence-based findings and scenarios concerning land use and management into policy arenas are required for informed policy making.