The IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment is the first time this important topic has been evaluated with this level of thoroughness, balance and coverage around all parts of the world. There have been many studies of the problem of land degradation in the past, but they are fragmented, and they are not necessarily supported by a consistent amount of evidence. So, whatever we find, all of what we find, is of great interest to very many people, not only in the direct area of land itself, but even the ‘knock-on’ consequences for human health, and for economies. We find that the problem of land degradation, in its many forms, loss of forests, the degradation of dry lands, loss of soils, contamination of water ecosystems, could well be, the most important and widespread issue in the contemporary world. in terms of the number of people it affects, the land area affected, and its impact on the economy. So why has this not come to global attention before? Well one of the reasons is the inability, in the past, to pull together this information in a very persuasive and comprehensive way. That’s the gap that this assessment attempts to fill.