Land degradation and restoration: Brazil
We walk on it, we need it for agriculture, it’s the foundation of terrestrial biodiversity but still we take it for granted. We even know that soil has the highest potential in preserving carbon. But the pressure on soil is growing and we do not treat it properly in order to preserve it. We still treat soil like an infinite source without taking in to account that fertile soil which took hundreds of years to emerge could be washed away with only one heavy shower.
Facing this massive degradation and loss of nutrition, people are facing less productive crops andare steadily forced to occupy new and more productive lands – like migratory grasshoppers.
As in most cases forest land fulfils the demands of our civilisation and faces severe deforestation. The impact of rapid population growth, the global expansion of urban areas and the increasing demand for food, energy and technology are the main drivers for deforestation and land degradation. In the face of this growing issue, the Bonn challenge was invented in 2011. The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands into restoration by 2020. For example, one of the main causes for the 50 million hectares of degraded land in Brazil is its massive agriculture industry, especially cattle farming. To contribute to the Bonn challenge, Brazil wants to restore 30 million of the 50 million hectares by 2030. It sounds impossible to achieve, but just 1% of Brazil’s GDP would be enough to accomplish this task. Certification is a significant instrument in restoration projects – with this tool it is possible for (small) companies to meet a standard and use its brand (e.g. FSC) which creates advantages in marketing.
Another solution to avoid the increasing amount of degraded land is by directing urban planning into degraded areas instead of expanding the city on to fertile soils. Ultimately it is inevitable that degraded land will be rehabilitated in the face of land scarcity: the degradation of today has to be restored by tomorrow.
Sebastian Kaegler and Niclas Hoegel are both completing a Master in Forestry and Wood Science at the Technical University of Munich. They finally found their COP-crushes in each other.