This book provides an examination into the causes and prospects of desertification through a systematic review of 132 sub national case studies. It uses a meta-analytical model to determine whether proximate causes and underlying driving forces fall into any patterns, to identify mediating factors, feedbacks, cross-scalar dynamics and typical pathways. It shows a limited set of recurrent core variables in varying combinations to drive desertification. Most prominent root causes are climatic factors, institutions, national policies, population growth and remote economic influences that lead to local cropland expansion, overgrazing and infrastructure extension, associated with desertification as a potential but not necessary outcome. Some factors are geographically robust; most of them are region and time specific.
Table of Contents
Contents: The problem and its identification; Research design; Initial conditions; Causes and system properties; Syndromes and process rates; Pathways; Indicators; Discussion; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.
Dr Helmut Geist is Executive Director of the Land - Use/Cover Change (LUCC) Project of the International Geosphere - Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Programme (IHDP).
’Geist’s book...is an antidote to some of the uninformed hand-waving that has taken place in the past. It is useful not only because of its analyses, but also because it has a good review of some of the uncertainties, advances and debates in desertification research and gives indications as to how indicators of desertification can be improved.’ Times Higher Education Supplement ’The Causes and Progression of Desertification is a timely contribution that provides additional perspectives on desertification and dry land degradation. This book brings together a variety of scientific perspectives that can begin to further inform several global environmental activities that are endeavouring to better manage such problems.’ Professor Coleen Vogel, Chair of IHDP, Germany ’A fascinating book for those who are interested in the fate of our planet. An in-depth study that puts desertification in perspective at a moment when human-induced climate perturbations become significant.’ Professor Guy P. Brasseur, Chair of IGBP ’A brilliant study.’ Built Environment 'This book is a great step forwards towards understanding desertification and can be helpful in designing policy measures.' Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture