Explain the term land degradation neutrality. Highlight its significance and the steps required to achieve it.

According to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), land degradation neutrality is the state in which value of land providing economic and ecosystem services remains constant or increases over a period of time.

Principles:

  • AVOID – Aims at prevention of degradation through preventive and curative measures.
  • REDUCE – Reduction of activities which contribute to land degradation.
  • REVERSE – Reversal of conditions in degraded land through remedial measures.

Significance:

  • Ensures proper soil quality for agricultural production and forestry.
  • Restore and maintain soil fertility.
  • Prevents drying up of water resources and aquifers.
  • Prevents destruction of biodiversity due to desertification.
  • Ensures economic and food security through continued agricultural production.

Steps to achieve it:

  • Prevention of soil erosion through Afforestation, planting of strip crops, etc.
  • Recharge of groundwater aquifers.
  • Scientific irrigation to prevent soil salinity.
  • Measures to check deforestation and biodiversity loss.
  • Adopting traditional agriculture and water harvesting practices.

According to UNCCD, 122 countries have committed to ensure land degradation neutrality. Global cooperation is essential to prevent loss of land resources in the long run.

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