Desertification and land degradation in India

Land degradation means degradation occurs in dryland regions; it is known as desertification. In 2011-2013; India has approx. 96 million hectares of degraded land, which is around 29% of India’s total landmass.

Causes of desertification

  • Loss of vegetation cover
  • Soil erosion
  • Deforestation
  • Excessive exploitation of groundwater
  • Unsustainable farming practices.

In India, water erosion is the biggest contribution to desertification and land degradation

Impacts of Desertification

  • Lowers productivity
  • Impact fertility of the soil
  • Reduces yield in farming
  • the income of farmer decreases

UNCCD and ‘its” importance –

  • It was adopted in Paris in 1994
  • It is the sole legally binding convention that connects environment and development with sustainable land management.
  • It is one of the 3 Rio Conventions.
  • India is a signatory to this convention.
  • This empowers the countries to combat desertification and achieve Land Degradation Neutral Status (LDN).
  • It has adopted the UNCCD strategy 2018-2030 to combat desertification and achieve LDN status by 2030.

GOI’s initiatives to combat land degradation

  • HarkhelkoPani
  • More crop per drop
  • Pradhan mantra fasalBima Yojana
  • Pradhan mantra Krishisichai Yojana
  • Soil Health Card

Thus UNCCD is an important convention to help countries achieve SDG15.3 to get LDN status by 2030. India has even launched Forest land Resforestation programme under Bonn Challenge to restore 13 million hectare land by 2020 and other 8 million by 2080.


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