Land degradation-the loss of productivity in all kinds of soils-is a result of climate-induced drought and of a variety of unsustainable farming and forest management practices. Desertification, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, contributes directly to freshwater scarcity, food insecurity, famine, migration, and conflict.
Land degradation can lead to scarcity of food and water, loss of income, resource conflicts, and environmental deterioration. Land degradation and poverty are closely linked. The majority of the people affected by land degradation are the rural poor, who depend on the land for their survival. Often, they must compete among themselves for dwindling natural resources. Consequently, the land becomes further depleted and thus the cycle of poverty is perpetuated.
Canada is taking action, both at home and around the world, to reverse the effects of land degradation. CIDA promotes sustainable land management at the national and international levels using an approach that aims to reduce poverty by building the capacity of affected communities to fight land degradation through technical assistance, training, and modest investments in equipment.
At the local level, CIDA supports a wide range of community-based initiatives, including tree planting to reduce erosion and provide food, fuel, timber, and income; improved tillage and grazing practices to preserve precious topsoil and vegetative cover; sustainable irrigation to return the soil to productivity; and environmental monitoring to help identify areas most at risk.