Mediterranean land degradation threatens food security
Climate change, tourism and population growth are all accelerating land degradation in the Mediterranean region, according to recent research. This can have severe impacts: the amount of available agricultural land per capita in the region could have dropped by half by 2020, compared with 1961, the study estimates.
The Mediterranean region covers about 850 million hectares in 22 countries across Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Its 46 000 km coastline is ecologically important: 1 million hectares of wetlands provide crucial ecosystem services, including water purification and carbon sequestration, which have been valued at €2.4 million per year. Around 14% of land is agricultural, although this figure rises to 34.4% in the eight Mediterranean countries that were part of the EU in 2012 (Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal1, Slovenia and Spain).
These important land resources and ecosystem services are being lost to urbanisation and degradation. The study presents information on the current status of the Mediterranean’s land resources and considers the region’s future prospects. Read more »