Land: Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin America and Caribbean region has the world's largest reserves of arable land with an estimated 576 million ha equal to almost 30 per cent of the total territory (Gómez and Gallopín 1995). The region also contains 16 per cent of the world total of 1 900 million ha of degraded land, taking third place behind Asia and the Pacific and Africa (UNEP 2000).

Priority issues in the region include: loss of agricultural area (caused by factors such as erosion, changes in agricultural practices and growing urbanization); land degradation (associated with compaction, leaching of nutrients and pollution); and land tenure (covering inadequate and inequitable distribution of land as well as lack of tenure rights).