Journal of East China Normal University(Natural Science) ›› 2020, Vol. 2020 ›› Issue (3): 109-118.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1000-5641.201941009

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Review of driving factors for land degradation and restoration based on IPBES

GUO Xiaona1, CHEN Ruishan1, LI Qiang2, PAN Zhenzhen3   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China;
    2. College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng Henan 475001, China;
    3. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2019-03-29 Published:2020-05-22

Abstract: Land degradation is one of the major global ecological problems that is endangering the health and well-being of 3.2 billion people, threatening food and water security, and reducing biodiversity. Land degradation, moreover, is triggering regional conflicts, large-scale migration and the spread of disease, and has raised widespread concerns from international organizations such as the UN, IPBES, and IPCC in recent years. Understanding the drivers of land degradation is fundamental to preventing land degradation and restoring degraded land. This paper examines the drivers of land degradation based on a land degradation and restoration assessment report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The factors that lead to land degradation can be divided into direct (human) drivers, indirect (human) drivers, and climate change. This paper elaborates on eight types of direct drivers for land degradation, namely grazing land management; cropland and agroforestry management; forests and tree plantation management; non-timber natural resource extraction; fire regime change; extractive industry and energy development; construction, industrial development, and urbanization; and invasive species. This research also explores indirect driving factors and their respective mechanisms, including: population, economy, technology, institution and management, and culture as well as mechanisms (i.e. interaction effects) that are situation-dependent, nonlinear or abruptly-changing, and remotely coupled. The research notes that climate change can also lead to various types of land degradation. Finally, this article reviews driving factors for land degradation in typical areas of China and proposes relevant preventive and response measures. An in-depth understanding of the drivers for land degradation will provide decision making support for “the governance of mountains, water, forests, cropland, lakes, and grass ecosystems” as well as the construction of “Beautiful China”.

Key words: land degradation, IPBES, driving factors, climate change

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