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A unifying modelling of multiple land degradation pathways in Europe

Prăvălie, Remus, Borrelli, Pasquale, Panagos, Panos, Ballabio, Cristiano, Lugato, Emanuele, Chappell, Adrian ORCID:, Miguez-Macho, Gonzalo, Maggi, Federico, Peng, Jian, Niculiță, Mihai, Roșca, Bogdan, Patriche, Cristian, Dumitrașcu, Monica, Bandoc, Georgeta, Nita, Ion-Andrei and Birsan, Marius-Victor 2024. A unifying modelling of multiple land degradation pathways in Europe. Nature Communications 15 (1) , 3862. 10.1038/s41467-024-48252-x

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Land degradation is a complex socio-environmental threat, which generally occurs as multiple concurrent pathways that remain largely unexplored in Europe. Here we present an unprecedented analysis of land multi-degradation in 40 continental countries, using twelve dataset-based processes that were modelled as land degradation convergence and combination pathways in Europe’s agricultural (and arable) environments. Using a Land Multi-degradation Index, we find that up to 27%, 35% and 22% of continental agricultural (~2 million km2) and arable (~1.1 million km2) lands are currently threatened by one, two, and three drivers of degradation, while 10–11% of pan-European agricultural/arable landscapes are cumulatively affected by four and at least five concurrent processes. We also explore the complex pattern of spatially interacting processes, emphasizing the major combinations of land degradation pathways across continental and national boundaries. Our results will enable policymakers to develop knowledge-based strategies for land degradation mitigation and other critical European sustainable development goals.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 May 2024
Date of Acceptance: 23 April 2024
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 09:30

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