Land degradation

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Two approaches to assess land degradation in IMAGE 3.0
Flowchart Land degradation. See also the Input/Output Table on the introduction page.

Key policy issues

  • In what parts of the world have human-induced changes in land and soil conditions occurred?
  • What are the future risks of soil degradation?
  • To what extent are ecosystem functions lost by soil degradation, adding to local and global concerns about food security, biodiversity loss and climate change?


Model intro

Input/Output Table

Input Land degradation component

IMAGE model drivers and variablesDescriptionSource
Number of wet days - grid (historical data) Number of days with a rain event, per month; assumed constant after the historical period CRU database
Land cover, land use - grid Multi-dimensional map describing all aspects of land cover and land use per grid cell, such as type of natural vegetation, crop and grass fraction, crop management, fertiliser and manure input, livestock density. Land cover and land use
Precipitation - grid Monthly total precipitation. Atmospheric composition and climate
Temperature - grid Monthly average temperature. Atmospheric composition and climate
External datasetsDescriptionSource
Slope - grid Terrain slope index. IIASA
Soil types and profiles (S-World) Soil profiles based on the HWSD (Harmonised World Soil Database) and on the ISRIC-WISE international soil profile dataset S-World database, HWSD database
Weighting factors for temperature, precipitation, land use and slope Weighting factors for the contribution of temperature, precipitation, land use and slope on distribution of soil properties. expert judgement

Output Land degradation component

IMAGE model variablesDescriptionUse
Erosion risk - grid Risk of soil erosion caused by water.
Change in soil properties - grid Change in soil properties, such as clay/sand content, organic carbon content, soil depth (topsoil/subsoil).