The New Times (Kigali)

17 December 2012

Rwanda: Land Degradation Costs Rwanda U.S. $70 Million Annually

A German researcher has revealed that Rwanda loses $77 million due to land degradation every year.

Mark Schauer, a scientist with German-based Economics of Land Degradation, a body that researches on the global ecosystem, further revealed that the world incurs a loss of $490bn per year in land degradation. The Economics of Land Degradation carries out research on land degradation, while producing systematic tips on how to protect the environment for sustainable development.

He revealed the disturbing findings during a three-day international conference on land value held in Kigali last week under the theme "Land value: Natural Capital and ecosystem services."

The meeting brought together environmentalists, scientists and government officials from various countries around the globe.

Schauer further said that it takes an average of 200 years for a five centimeters layer of soil to recover once eroded.

"It's not recoverable in my opinion, Schauer observed, adding that it was urgent to curb this wanton loss.

Schauer blamed governments for often targeting quick projects, adding that such a move was unsustainable.

During the meeting, participants asked governments around the world to strive for green economies to usher in sustainable development.

They further pointed out that the world is currently facing numerous environmental risks with soil degradation a key factor.

Some of the participants observed that environmental researchers often conflict with some government institutions over curbing the threats that face the world's ecosystem.

The conference attracted participants from 14 countries, including Kenya, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria and Burundi among others to discuss land value and seek approaches to minimise risks to the natural resources.

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