Desertification

Authored by: Meri Juntti

Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Print publication date:  September  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415694209
eBook ISBN: 9780203799055
Adobe ISBN: 9781135090517

10.4324/9780203799055.ch39

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Abstract

Desertification, like climate change and biodiversity loss, has been deemed a global environmental challenge that merits its own multilateral convention to achieve coordinated action to combat and mitigate its impact (see Chapter 28 and 37). The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), established in the wake of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit on sustainable development, orchestrates action on desertification at a global level. However, like many other environmental issues, desertification is a nebulous concept, where scientific knowledge (see Chapter 17), political opinion (see Chapter 26) and operative-level experience and know-how converge, conflict and vie for domination. Over a hundred definitions of desertification are identifiable from the literature, but most relate it to the loss of an area’s resource potential, through depletion of soil cover, vegetation cover or loss of useful plant species (Middleton 2008).

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