Goal 15: Life on land
SDG 15 targets ecosystems that are highly relevant for the Republic of Moldova, including forests and land. The share of afforested areas of the total territory of the country – around 11 per cent – is unusually low in a continental comparison (above 40 per cent) and is also below the critical threshold level of 15 per cent required for the provision of a minimal level of forest-related environmental services. Climate change poses significant challenges to the sustainable development of forest-related ecosystems; however, the man-made challenges are much more significant. Land degradation is another challenge that bears heavily on agricultural sector productivity. For decades, Moldova experienced creeping desertification due to insufficient investment in and restoration of degraded lands. Currently around 860,000 hectares of land (more than 40 per cent of the agricultural land in the country) are exposed to erosion in various degrees. This causes a significant drop in agriculture production. Direct economic losses because of decreased harvests are estimated at some US$220 million. The indirect impact of erosion results in siltation of water bodies, damaging hydrotechnical works, and causing pollution of water courses and water bodies with nutrients and pesticides.
Both at the global and the national level, SDG 15 emphasizes the sustainable use (including restoring) of land resources and the prevention of land degradation, protection of inland fresh water ecosystems, conservation, rehabilitation of forests (including increasing afforestation and reforestation), conservation of biodiversity, ending poaching and integration of biodiversity and ecosystems values in policies at all levels. Moldova has adopted many strategies in this area, with the challenge being adopting a more integrated approach and securing the financial resources necessary for restauration and conservation of its terrestrial ecosystems resources.