Economics of salt-induced land degradation and restoration

Published Date
November 24, 2014
Journal Article
Economics of salt-induced land degradation and restoration
Manzoor Qadir
Emmanuelle Quillerou, Vinay Nangia, Ghulam Murtaza, Murari Singh, Richard James Thomas, Pay Drechsel, Andrew Noble

Food security concerns and the scarcity of new productive land have put productivity enhancement of degraded lands back
on the political agenda. In such a context, salt-affected lands are a valuable resource that cannot be neglected nor easily
abandoned even with their lower crop yields, especially in areas where significant investments have already been made in
irrigation and drainage infrastructure. A review of previous studies shows a very limited number of highly variable estimates
of the costs of salt-induced land degradation combined with methodological and contextual differences. Simple extrapolation
suggests that the global annual cost of salt-induced land degradation in irrigated areas could be US$ 27.3 billion because of
lost crop production.We present selected case studies that highlight the potential for economic and environmental benefits of
taking action to remediate salt-affected lands. The findings indicate that it can be cost-effective to invest in sustainable land
management in countries confronting salt-induced land degradation. Such investments in effective remediation of salt-affected
lands should form part of a broader strategy for food security and be defined in national action plans. This broader strategy
is required to ensure the identification and effective removal of barriers to the adoption of sustainable land management, such
as perverse subsidies. Whereas reversing salt-induced land degradation would require several years, interim salinity
management strategies could provide a pathway for effective remediation and further showcase the importance of reversing
land degradation and the rewards of investing in sustainable land management.

Manzoor Qadir, Emmanuelle Quillerou, Vinay Nangia, Ghulam Murtaza, Murari Singh, Richard Thomas, Pay Drechsel, Andrew Noble. (24/11/2014). Economics of salt-induced land degradation and restoration. Natural Resources Forum, 38 (4), pp. 282-295.
integrated remediation strategies
soil remediation
salt-affected soils
crop production
sustainable land management