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Wageningen University (2012)

A process for effective desertification mitigation

Schwilch Gudrun

Titre : A process for effective desertification mitigation

Auteur : Schwilch Gudrun

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Doctor at Wageningen University 2012

Résumé partiel
in these ecosystems can easily result in widespread and severe land degradation and thus desertification. Combined with global issues such as climate change, economic disparities, migration, and competing claims on land, this often leads to a vicious cycle of aridity, land degradation, and productivity loss. In addition to the harsh environmental conditions limiting land productivity, the socio-economic situation in drylands can pose challenges as well, given that these regions are often characterised by remoteness, marginality, lowproductivity farming, weak institutions, and even conflict. Managing land sustainably under such conditions is a challenge which concerns land users and other stakeholders, policymakers, and researchers alike. Desertification research has traditionally focused on degradation assessments, whereas prevention and mitigation strategies have not sufficiently been emphasised, although the concept of sustainable land management (SLM) is increasingly being acknowledged (Chapter 1). The present research was embedded in the EU FP6 research project DESIRE (Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land – a Global Approach for Local Solutions ; 2007–2012). DESIRE aimed to establish promising alternative land use and management strategies in 17 areas affected by land degradation and desertification around the world. Project work was based on close collaboration of scientists with local stakeholder groups. The study sites served as a global laboratory for developing and applying new methods of science – stakeholder collaboration and trialling traditional and innovative approaches to combating desertification. Chapter 2 offers a compilation and review of a number of methodological approaches to monitoring and assessing SLM which to date have been little reported in the literature. Lessons are drawn from these experiences, and common elements and future pathways are identified as a basis for a global approach. The local-level methods of the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) framework serve to catalogue SLM technologies and approaches as case studies. This tool was included in the local-level Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) as well as in the DESIRE project. Complementary site-based approaches can enhance an ecological process-based understanding of SLM variation. At national and sub-national levels, a joint WOCAT/LADA/DESIRE spatial assessment based on land use systems can be used to identify the status and trends of degradation and SLM, including causes, drivers, and impacts on ecosystem services. Expert consultation is combined with scientific evidence and, where necessary, enhanced with secondary data and indicator databases. Key lessons learnt include the need for a multi-scale approach, for using common indicators, and for drawing on a variety of information sources, including scientific data and local knowledge, by means of participatory methods.

Mots Clés : desertification - land management - sustainability - decision making - participation - stakeholders - soil conservation - environmental impact - mitigation


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Page publiée le 24 octobre 2012, mise à jour le 29 mai 2022