Food security may be threatened by loss of soil productivity as a result of human-induced land degradation. Water erosion is the most important cause of land degradation, and its effects are irreversible.
This report describes the IMAGE land degradation model developed for describing current and future global problems of water erosion at a 0.5 by 0.5 degree longitude and latitude resolution. The sensitivity to water erosion is computed from the terrain erodibility (based on soil and terrain characteristics), rainfall erosivity and land cover. Sensitivity is expressed in relative terms. The results can be used to identify regions where problems of water erosion may present under scenarios of population and economic growth, technological change and climate change.