Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Brèves → Brèves 2010 → Thirty-Eight Percent of World’s Surface in Danger of Desertification

Thirty-Eight Percent of World’s Surface in Danger of Desertification

ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2010)

Thirty-Eight Percent of World’s Surface in Danger of Desertification

ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2010)

Researchers have measured the degradation of the planet’s soil using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a scientific methodology that analyses the environmental impact of human activities, and which now for the first time includes indicators on desertification. The results show that 38 percent of the world is made up of arid regions at risk of desertification.

"Despite improvements in the LCA, it has a methodological weakness, which is a lack of environmental impact categories to measure the effect of human activities such as cultivation or grazing on the soil," Montserrat Núñez, lead author and a researcher at the Institute of Agro Food Research and Technology (IRTA), said.

The research, published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, is the first study in the world to include the impact of desertification in the LCA, based on classifying 15 natural areas or "eco-regions" according to their degree of aridity. By simultaneously using the LCA and a Geographic Information System (GIS), the researchers have shown that eight of these 15 areas can be classified as at risk of desertification, representing 38% of the land surface of the world

The eight natural areas at risk are coastal areas, the Prairies, the Mediterranean region, the savannah, the temperate Steppes, the temperate deserts, tropical and subtropical Steppes, and the tropical and subtropical deserts.

"The greatest risk of desertification (7.6 out of 10 on a scale produced using various desertification indicators) is in the subtropical desert regions — North Africa, the countries of the Middle East, Australia, South West China and the western edge of South America," the scientist explains.

These are followed by areas such as the Mediterranean and the tropical and subtropical Steppes, both of which score 6.3 out of 10 on the scale of desertification risk. Coastal areas and the Prairies are at a lower risk of desertification, with 4 out of 10.

Pour en savoir plus (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 18 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 4 août 2014