The Baltic Region

2016 Issue №3

Back to the list Download an article

Land Use Change and Economics of Land Degradation in the Baltic Region



In this paper, we adapt a new conceptual framework for the assessment of the economics of land degradation and sustainable land management to the Baltic region. The findings show that the problem of land degradation in the countries of the region is quite substantial, manifesting itself through reductions in the provision of land ecosystem services. Using a benefit transfer approach, the total economic value of these losses due to land degradation is estimated to be about 9 billion USD annually. On the other hand, we find that every dollar invested into restoring the degraded land ecosystems may return about 3 dollars in social gains after a 6-year period following the re-establishment of the higher value biome, making actions to address land degradation in the region both environmentally valuable and economically attractive.


1. von Braun, J., Gerber, N., Mirzabaev, A., Nkonya, E. 2013, The economics of land degradation, ZEF Working paper series, no. 109, Bonn, Germany.
2. Nkonya, E., Anderson, W., Kato, E., Koo, J., Mirzabaev, A., von Braun, J., Meyer, S. 2016. Global cost of land degradation / Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement, A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development Springer International Publishing, p. 117—165.
3. Winthner, T. Tlga, M., Valters, K. 2014, A Bioeconomy for the Baltic Sea Region: mapping fo stakeholders, practices and opportunities, Innogate and Nordic Council of Ministers, available at: 10.04.2016).
4. Daily, G. C., Kareiva, P. M., Polasky, S., Ricketts, T. H., Tallis, H. 2011, Mainstreaming natural capital into decisions, Natural capital: theory and practice of mapping ecosystem services, p. 3—14.
5. Nkonya, E., Gerber, N., Baumgartner, P., von Braun, J., De Pinto, A., Graw, V., Kato, E., Kloos, J., Walter, T. 2011, The economics of desertification, land degradation, and drought: Towards an integrated global assessment, ZEF-Discussion Papers on Development Policy, no. 150, Center for Development Research, Bonn, p. 184.
6. Friedl, M. A., Sulla-Menashe, D., Tan, B., Schneider, A., Ramankutty, N., Sibley, A., Huang, X. 2010, MODIS collection 5 global land cover: Algorithm refinements and characterization of new datasets, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 114, no. 1, p. 168—182.
7.Van der Ploeg, S., de Groot, R. S. 2010, The TEEB valuation database — A searchable database of 1310 estimates of monetary values of ecosystem services, Foundation for Sustainable Development, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
8. Latvia MOE (Ministry of Environment), 2006, National report to the UNCCD, History of the convention and its ratification by Latvia.
9. Karklins, A. 2000, Soil degradation status and data availability in Latvia. In: Batjes N and Bridges E, Implementation of a Soil Degradation and Vulnerability database for Central and Eastern Europe, FAO and ISRIC, Rome, Italy.
10. Dedkov, V., Nikitina, S. 2015, Nature Management Conflicts in the Kaliningrad Region, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Vol 6, no. 6, p. 7.
11. Jackowski, W. 1998, Assessment of soil erosion risk in Poland, available at: 20Poland.pdf (accessed 10.04.2016).
12. Reintam, L., Karblane, H., Petersell, V. 2000, Short report on SOVEUR status in Estonia, Batjes N and Bridges E Implementation of a Soil Degradation and Vulnerability database for Central and Eastern Europe, FAO and ISRIC, Rome, Italy.
13. Reynolds, J. F., Smith, D. M. S., Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. L., Mortimore, M., Batterbury, S. P.,... Huber-Sannwald, E. 2007, Global desertification: building a science for dryland development, Science, no. 316 (5826), p. 847—851.
14. Bai, Z. G., Dent, D. L., Olsson, L., Schaepman, M. E. 2008, Proxy global assessment of land degradation, Soil use and management, Vol. 24, no. 3, p. 223—234.
15. Le, Q. B., Nkonya, E., Mirzabaev, A. 2016, Biomass productivity-based mapping of global land degradation hotspots. In: Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement — A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development, p. 55—84.