Why is ecological restoration so critical to the World Bank’s mission of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity? Quite simply, because environmental degradation is devastating to the most vulnerable communities and perpetuates poverty around the world. Some 42 percent of the world’s poorest live on land that is classified as degraded. The situation becomes worse every year, as 24 billion tons of fertile soil is eroded, and drought threatens to turn 12 million hectares of land into desert.
The costs associated with environmental degradation can be compared to the impacts of a natural disaster. In Indonesia, for example, a few months of peat fires created more economic damage than the Tsunami in Aceh. Thankfully, there is still time to reverse this type of harm. Worldwide, about two billion hectares of degraded forest land could be restored, creating functional, productive ecosystems that can boost sustainable development. — blog.wb.org/blogs