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close this bookEnergy after Rio - Prospects and Challenges - Executive Summary (UNDP, 1997, 38 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForeword
View the documentNotes on the Authors and Contributors
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Introduction
close this folder2. Energy and Major Global Issues
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder2.1 Energy and Social Issues
View the document2.1.1 Poverty
View the document2.1.2 Gender Disparity
View the document2.1.3 Population
View the document2.1.4 Undernutrition and Food
close this folder2.2 Energy and Environment
View the document2.2.1 Health
View the document2.2.2 Acidification
View the document2.2.3 Climate Change
View the document2.2.4 Land Degradation
close this folder2.3 Energy and the Economy
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.3.1 Investment Requirements of Energy
View the document2.3.2 Foreign Exchange Impacts of Energy Imports
close this folder2.4 Energy and Security
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.4.1 Energy and National Security
View the document2.4.2 Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
View the document2.5 Energy and Global Issues: The Implications
close this folder3. New Opportunities in Energy Demand, Supply and Systems
View the document3.1 Introduction
View the document3.2 Demand Side: Energy and Energy-Intensive Materials Efficiency
View the document3.3 Supply Side: Renewables and Clean Fossil Fuel Technologies
View the document3.4 Fuels and Stoves for Cooking
close this folder4. Sustainable Strategies
View the document4.1 Global Energy Scenarios
View the document4.2 Implications for the Developing World
View the document4.3 Implications for Energy Exporting Economies
close this folder4.4 Some General Implications of Sustainable Energy Systems
View the document4.4.1 Energy and the Economy
View the document4.4.2 Energy and Poverty
View the document4.4.3 Creating Jobs
View the document4.4.4 Women
View the document4.4.5 Rural Development
View the document4.4.6 Urban Development
View the document4.4.7 Energy and the Environment
View the document4.4.8 Energy and Security
View the document4.5 Conclusions
View the document5. Making It Happen: Energy for Sustainable Development
View the documentGlossary of Abbreviations

2.2.4 Land Degradation

emissions will have to fall below the present level in order to stabilise the atmospheric concentration of CO2

Globally about 2000 million hectares of land have been degraded - an area equal to more than one third of all cropland and forested land. Some 300 million hectares are under such severe stress conditions that damage can be considered irreversible. If left unchecked, most of the remaining degraded land is likely to reach similar conditions. Land continues to be degraded at rates that are high by historical standards. The major causes of land degradation are deforestation, shifting cultivation practices in agriculture, over-grazing and the use of bush fires for short-term gains. Land degradation now affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people and is hampering the development of countries. Stopping land degradation is a high priority in many areas of the world.

Although the production of energy (including biomass energy or bioenergy) is not a major global cause of land degradation (although the impact may be large locally and regionally), energy can play a major role in stemming and reversing the problem. Specifically, the introduction of modern biomass energy systems (e.g., for electricity generation) would put a sufficiently high market price on biomass to make it profitable to restore many of the potentially productive degraded lands to “energy farm quality” so as to be able to serve lucrative biomass energy markets. Thus, the energy-land degradation nexus appears “more a cure than a disease.”