Linkages between land degradation and economic inequality in global drylands
Abstract: Land degradation has a negative effect on agriculture, food security and ecosystems. It severely impacts the livelihood of the many people directly depending on agriculture around the world. Drylands are some of the most vulnerable areas around the world. Population increase and climate change add strain on the food production of these areas, making them especially vulnerable to land degradation. The aim of this thesis was to explore possible linkages between land degradation and economic inequality. The residual trend method was applied for global drylands, and the resulting vegetation trends were correlated with three measures of income inequality: the Gini coefficient, the income quintile ratio and the decile dispersion ratio. All three correlations showed significant negative relationships, meaning that land degradation can be associated with economic inequality. No other research could be found that quantifies the association between land degradation and economic inequality. The results underline the importance for policy makers to tackle inequality and land degradation simultaneously, since they are interconnected. Further research is needed to determine the nature of this relationship, and how the understanding of this relationship could help combat inequality and land degradation in the future.
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