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GEO-3: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK  
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Vulnerable land

Key to charts
Extent of built-up areas: West Asia (% of total land area)

Source: PoleStar (see technical annex)

Pressures on West Asia's limited arable lands are driven by the ever-expanding food demands of a growing population and expansion of other land uses, including urbanization, industrial activities, infrastructure and tourism. In Markets First and Security First scenarios, transfer of arable land to these sectors continues in the absence of effective arable land protection policies. The built-up area expands (see chart) in step with growth in population. Built environment per person continues to grow in Markets First, with sprawling settlement patterns. Rapid population growth and unplanned expansion lead to even greater growth in built-up area in a Security First world. In Sustainability First and Policy First, more rapid economic expansion is partially offset by a tendency towards compact settlement patterns. Expansion of built-over land in Sustainability First is the smallest among all four scenarios.

The land that remains in agriculture is susceptible to water-induced soil degradation (see chart below). In Policy First, implementation of a regional food demand management strategy results in more food being imported from other regions. This spares arable land from increased pressure for local food production. In Sustainability First, there is slightly more land susceptible to soil degradation than in either the Policy First or Markets First scenarios because more arable land is kept in production. The greatest risk is in a Security First situation, where management is poorest and more marginal land is used.

Area with high risk of water-induced soil degradation: West Asia (% of total land area)

Water-induced soil degradation continues to be a risk throughout the region.

Source: IMAGE 2.2 (see technical annex)

Percentage of 2002 cropland severely degraded by 2032: West Asia

Bars represent the percentage of cropland that has become so degraded by 2032 that it is of little value for production.

Source: PoleStar (see technical annex)