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​Facts on land degradation

Between 1981 and 2003, 24 per cent of global land was degraded.
Rangeland accounts for 20 to 25 per cent of degrading land.
Cropland accounts for 20 per cent of degrading land.
Worldwide some 1 500 million people depend on degrading land.
Between 1981 and 2003, 16 per cent of degraded land was improved.
Rangeland comprised 43 per cent of degraded land.
Cropland comprised 18 per cent of degraded land.
Land covering 12 million hectares, equivalent to Bulgaria or Benin, is lost every year.
Annual land lost could produce 20 million tonnes of grain.

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​Dryland facts

The total population of the world’s drylands is 2 000 million, excluding hyper-arid (desert) areas. Drylands are thus home to almost one in three people in the world today.
Drylands support 50 per cent of the world’s livestock.
The majority of the world’s dryland population is in developing countries.
Drylands store 46 per cent of the planet’s carbon inventory.
Drylands comprise 44 per cent of all cultivated land.
Plant species endemic to the drylands make up 30% of the plants under cultivation today.
The largest dryland areas are in Australia, China, Russia, the United States and Kazakhstan.
At least 99 per cent of the surface area of six countries (Botswana, Burkina Faso, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Turkmenistan) is classified as drylands.

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UNCCD welcomes your contributions to its library news section. We invite readers to send information about new reports, books or journals related to desertification to e-mail

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The UNCCD Library & Data Centre provides guidance and assistance in tracking down information about the UNCCD and its documentation. The secretariat's librarian will assist you in person, by telephone (+49-228 / 815-2864) or e-mail.

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