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List of knowledge gaps identified from Chapter 5 on impacts of Land degradation and restoration on changes in ecosystem services

Posted by patrick.meyfroidt on Thu, 17/01/2019
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Here is a list of gaps identified on impacts of Land degradation and restoration on changes in ecosystem services and functions, and human well-being and good quality of life, taken from Chapter 5 (not exhaustive):


* p. 467, l. 17124-17127: "One of the most difficult elements of land degradation impacts on human health is the role biodiversity loss plays in disease emergence, a process that, by definition, includes both entirely new pathogens and those with sudden increases in prevalence. (...) same for land use change."

* p. 469, l. 17194-17196: "The relationship between biodiversity and zooprophylaxis is poorly understood, but current theory indicates that land degradation-driven loss of biodiversity could substantially increase disease prevalence in wildlife and humans. This is termed the biodiversity dilution effect, in which species richness of (usually mammal or bird) host communities corresponds to a decrease in the disease risk of pathogens."

* p. 474, l. 17353-17367: "One of the most significant human health costs of land degradation and biodiversity loss is the elimination of ecosystem functions and services like bioremediation, the potential for naturally occurring plants and microbes to remove toxins and pathogens from waterways and soil. (...) These processes are poorly studied and poorly understood, but undoubtedly play a significant role in human health outcomes during terrestrial or marine land-use change."

* p. 474-475, l. 17392-17401: "Ecosystem valuation based on pharmaceutical discoveries is often controversial, making it difficult to assess the value lost because of land degradation."

* p. 475, l. 17404-17414: "However, due to complex relationships between physical health, mental health and human well-being, a causal relationship between mental health and interaction or exposure to natural landscapes are often difficult to confirm (Lee et al., 2010). (…) Future research should thus focus on the effect of the rapid urbanization on mental health through loss of greenspace in these parts of the world as well as the possible benefits of restoration (Shanahan et al., 2015)."

* p. 488, l. 17853-17862: "It is for this reason that some authors have called for more empirical focus on the indirect pathways of causality between land degradation and conflict, particularly effects on livelihoods and on institutions (Bernauer et al., 2012). It may in fact be the case that it is the role of land degradation in exacerbating poverty (see Section 5.2) that has the most significant (albeit indirect) effect on conflict risk. A recent report confirmed serious knowledge gaps to link land degradation and food security but did conclude that the current literature on the influence of environmental factors on insecurity, provides evidence for a very likely indirect relationship between land degradation and conflict (van Schaik et al., 2014)."

* p. 495, l. 18108-18111: "In conclusion, there is high agreement that biofuels increase agricultural commodity prices, but there is limited robust evidence due to the complex nature of the models, policy enforcement uncertainty, the lack of data on supply and demand elasticity in developing countries and the lack of data on land markers, and their drivers (Persson, 2015)."

* p. 510, l. 18577-18581: "There is a great need to strengthen, deepen and broaden research across disciplines on the cultural values of nature, how they are affected by land degradation, and to what extent they can be enriched by restoration."