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Land degradation

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This chapter examines the scientific understanding of how climate change impacts land degradation, and vice versa, with a focus on non-drylands. Land degradation of drylands is covered in Chapter 3. After providing definitions and the context (Section 4.1) we proceed with a theoretical explanation of the different processes of land degradation and how they are related to climate and to climate change, where possible (Section 4.2). Two sections are devoted to a systematic assessment of the scientific literature on status and trend of land degradation (Section 4.3) and projections of land degradation (Section 4.4). Then follows a section where we assess the impacts of climate change mitigation options, bioenergy and land-based technologies for carbon dioxide removal (CDR), on land degradation (Section 4.5). The ways in which land degradation can impact on climate and climate change are assessed in Section 4.6. The impacts of climate-related land degradation on human and natural systems are assessed in Section 4.7. The remainder of the chapter assesses land degradation mitigation options based on the concept of sustainable land management: avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation (Section 4.8), followed by a presentation of eight illustrative case studies of land degradation and remedies (Section 4.9). The chapter ends with a discussion of the most critical knowledge gaps and areas for further research (Section 4.10).

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