Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (11): 1243-1248.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018117

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IPBES thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration and its potential impact

Boya Zhang, Yuxue Pan, Jing Xu, Yu Tian*()   

  1. Biodiversity Research Center, Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2018-04-13 Accepted:2018-06-27 Online:2018-11-20 Published:2019-01-08
  • Contact: Tian Yu
  • About author:# Co-first authors


With increasing international concern for biodiversity and human well-being, land degradation has increasingly become the foci of international conventions and processes. In the 2014-2018 Work Program of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), “Land degradation and restoration” was included as one of the three major thematic assessment activities. The assessment report was completed by three hundred experts around the world in three years and adopted at the sixth plenary meeting of IPBES in March 2018. This article outlines the main contents and conclusions of the assessment, discusses possible impacts on other international processes, and proposes future work within our country. Based on the conceptual framework of IPBES, the assessment report comprehensively clarified the impact of land degradation on human life quality, the status and progress of land degradation, the role of direct and indirect drivers on land degradation, the relationship between land degradation and human well-being, and proposed suggestions for mitigating land degradation and promoting restoration. The assessment will provide policy makers in various countries with effective technical support for formulating policy tools and scientific references for negotiation of relevant international processes. As a country with rich biodiversity, China should accord importance to IPBES assessment mechanism and actively participate in strengthening the promotion of scientific achievements in the field of conserving biodiversity, initiate assessment on key domestic issues related to biodiversity and ecosystem services in a timely manner, to promote the construction of ecological civilization in our country, adopt a holistic approach to conserving our mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands, achieve the construction goal of beautiful China.

Key words: land degradation and restoration, biodiversity, ecosystem services, human well-being, IPBES