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Why healthy soils and forests are key to climate protection and prosperity

What does the politics of how we use land have to do with climate change? And with poverty, conflict and migration? These are the questions being addressed this week at an international conference focused on a more sustainable future for our planet.

"Deforestation and changes in land-use contribute around 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions," Karin Kemper, senior director for Environment and Natural Resources at the World Bank, said, speaking at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany.

Deforestation, soil degradation and climate-related drought are exacting a high price on humanity, Kemper told the conference. She cited the 2015 peat fires in Indonesia, which she said caused $16 billion worth of damage. Land degradation cost Burundi 4 percent of its GDP, she added, and Colombia more than 1.5 per cent of GDP.

"The destruction of forests and land comes at a high price, and we urgently need to deal with these issues," Kemper said.

photo credit: magnusfranklin

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