Desertization

Authored by: Henry Noel LeHouerou

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120001691

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Abstract

Desertization is the irreversible extension of desert-like landscapes and landforms to areas where they did not occur in the recent past. Desertization results, to a large extent, from land abuse by humans and livestock; it is not a consequence of climate fluctuation, albeit drought may worsen and accelerate a phenomenon that could have been triggered during high rainfall periods. The causes of desertization are both direct and indirect. Combating desertization first requires the discontinuation, or at least the serious mitigation of previous destructive activities that brought the situation about. Biological recovery may be achieved via centuries-old techniques. But such activities often necessitate a deliberate policy and adequate strategies of conservative land use; this, in turn, may require political and legal actions encouraging responsible land-use management to achieve sustainability.

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