Lands lost to desert may effectively be lost for ever, so desertification is humanity's most obvious despoliation to the planet. It is certainly one of the most serious environmental problems facing the world today. In this book the author describes what is happening and where. Although the problem is greatest in developing countries, it is by no means confined to them. Australia, Africa, the USA and India are all affected. In the 1970s an international Plan of Action was drawn up to bring the phenomenon under control, but it was never implemented. Now that the situation is more serious than ever before, this book urges new action and describes many of the myriad ways in which it is possible to arrest the progress of desertification. It describes, too, not just the failures, but the considerable successes that have been achieved. Originally published in 1990
Table of Contents
Figures and Tables Acronyms Preface Introduction 1. What Is Desertification? Desertification Defined The Distribution of Drylands The Arid Zones Natural Deserts and Desertification The Two Main Characteristics of Desertification The Direct and Indirect Causes of Desertification Desertification and Civilization Drought and Desertification Questions Remain about Desertification A Complex Phenomenon 2. The Causes of Desertification Overcultivation Overgrazing Poor Irrigation Management Deforestation Causes and Solutions 3. Desertification, People and Policy Population Growth Economic Development Desertification and Underdevelopment The Role of Government Famine, Poverty and Desertification Desertification in Developed Nations A Broader Perspective 4. The Scale of Desertification The Regional Distribution of Desertification Estimates of the Extent and Rate of Desertification Developing a New System of Desertification Indicators Using Remote Sensing to Improve the Monitoring of Desertification The Data Imperative 5. Controlling Desertification by Improving Crop Production Improving Rainfed Cropping Improving Irrigated Cropping The Role of Cropping in Desertification Control 6. Controlling Desertification by Improving Livestock Raising Improving Animal Quality Reducing Stock Levels Improving Rangelands More Wells? Regulating Nomads The Prospects for Livestock Development Pastoral Associations: the Last Hope? The Livestock Dilemma 7. Controlling Desertification by Planting Trees The Fuelwood Crisis Large-scale Fuelwood Plantations Social Forestry Does Community Forestry have a Future? The Role of Non-governmental Organizations Improved Stoves Future Tree-planting Strategies 8. Farm Forestry and Natural Woodland Management Farm Forestry Agroforestry Managing Natural Woodlands The Potential of Agroforestry and Natural Woodland Management 9. Turning the Tide Progress in Soil Conservation Preventing Sand Dune Encroachment The Prospects for Soil Conservation and Desert Reclamation 10.Controlling Desertification: Progress and Prospects Progress so Far Constraints on Progress Success or Failure? Priorities for Action Conclusions Appendix: Summary of the UNCOD Plan of Action to Combat Desertification Bibliography Index
Alan Grainger is a lecturer in geography at the University of Leeds, UK.