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Desertification Themes

 

A1 - General introduction to land degradation and desertification

by Anton Imeson

Abstract
This booklet provides an introduction to the processes of desertification now affecting the northern Mediterranean. It explains what European scientists have learned about how and why it is occurring. The consequences of desertification are that the land can no longer provide us with the natural resources that we value, such as raw materials, food, nature and water. It loses its capacity to protect us from climate change and natural disasters. The findings of many thousands of scientists involved in EU research contain much information that could help society solve desertification issues such as erosion, salinisation, wildfires, groundwater level depletion and pollution and rural depopulation.
Desertification today is an unnecessary and mainly inadvertent consequence of organised and how we manage natural resources.  The aim of Lucinda is to increase awareness about how human actions and decisions involving the land use are jeopardise sustainable development and human well being because of desertification

 

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A2 - Desertification and indicators

by Jane Brandt and Nichola Geeson

Abstract
A desertification indicator is parameter (such as soil depth) which can be easily measured and which, when its value falls within certain ranges, can indicate that desertification may be a problem. Identification and use of appropriate indicators is required by the UNCCD and they can be used in regional, national and local action plans. In this booklet, some 140 indicators are named, covering physical and ecological, economic, social and institutional aspects of desertification. Examples are given of how a few key indicators can be selected from this list according to the particular desertification issue faced in an area. Methods for combining a number of indicators into composite indices in order to map desertification risk over larger areas are discussed. Finally examples of how indicator data can be used to inform agricultural and land use decision-making and for education and information dissemination are given.

 

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A3 - Remote sensing techniques for monitoring desertification

by Joachim Hill

Abstract
The ongoing debate about the impact of global change processes on dryland ecosystems has brought the question about the extent of areas affected by desertification or degradation high up on the agenda. Satellite observation offers significant capabilities for deriving information integral to studying human-environment systems, especially those concerned with the impacts of human activity on land use and land cover. However, linking remote sensing observations to desertification phenomena not only requires powerful algorithms for retrieving primary bio-physical parameters from physical measurements of reflected, backscattered or emitted electromagnetic radiation. Since bio-physical indicators of surface characteristics can be ambiguous and misleading when not interpreted in context, it is of crucial importance to relate the extracted information components to specific causal constraints. The problem here is that the latter might appear as manifold as drylands differ in their societal, economic and natural settings.
Within the past years strategies have been developed to connect the analysis of remote sensing data archives from global observation systems (spatial scale 1 km, decadal observations, temporal coverage app. 1985-today) with less frequently recorded, but spatially and spectrally more detailed observations from earth observation satellites (spatial scale 10-30 meter). While the first are expected to identify affected regions where land surface characteristics have changed over time into more critical or more favourable conditions, the latter can be used to unveil the underlying processes on a more detailed spatial scale where conceptual and methodological linkages to socio-economic drivers can be more explicitly considered.

 

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A4 - Warning society about desertification

by Maria José Roxo

Abstract
Combating desertification is best achieved by mobilising the effort of everyone with an interest in the issue, from a number of perspectives. This is essential to involve all stakeholders, from the level of the European and National Parliaments to that of local communities and individuals. This booklet will present and explain the importance of different ways of communication, with examples, of successful awareness raising strategies and methods. It will extract from these the golden rules and principles that this European research has demonstrated. It will enable the reader to understand how these can be applied in different settings and to identify and obtain the information and knowledge needed for his own aims.

 

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A5 - Public policies: responding to the challenge of combating desertification

by Helen Briassoulis

Abstract
The existence of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification signifies the seriousness of desertification and the importance of collective action interventions to combat it. Among the many contemporary determinants of desertification, public policies figure prominently because they induce processes of land use change that, under adverse bio-climatic conditions deplete land resources and reduce the carrying and productive capacity of land. Public policies can be used, however, to mitigate the unwanted effects of land use change that may lead to desertification. This booklet first introduces the challenge, the socio-economic determinants and the role of public policies in the context of desertification with a focus on Mediterranean Europe. It, then, discusses which public policies are relevant to desertification and presents the most important EU and national policies. Next, it explains why combating desertification is not a straightforward endeavour. It concludes with proposed courses of action for desertification-relevant policy design at the EU and the national level.

 

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A6 - European policy and desertification: evidence from the local scale

by Geoff Wilson

Abstract
This booklet argues that it is crucial to understand the importance of policy and the role it plays in desertification processes. The aim is to focus on the role of policy at the local scale. The booklet explores the policy process (i.e. how policy works) and discusses issues and concerns related to policy implementation in the Northern Mediterranean. Policy as both a driver and a solution to Mediterranean desertification is analysed, drawing on both positive and negative examples at the local scale from various Northern Mediterranean locations (Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece). The booklet emphasises that no discussion of policy effects and effectiveness can be understood without a grasp of the link between policies and politics. The booklet concludes with a discussion of lessons that have been learnt with regard to policy implementation and effectiveness, and what the future perspectives are for the policy/desertification interface. Recommendations for a holistic and integrated desertification policy package are given at the end.

 

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A7 - Regional and National Action Programmes

by Chiara Zanolla, Valeria Petrucci, Claudio Caria,Claudio Zucca, Giuseppe Enne

Abstract
In the last decades desertification has been recognized as one of the major threats for our planet. It is not only an environmental problem as its consequences also affect economical, social and human dynamics. This booklet aims at illustrating and clarifying the strategy to combat desertification as defined by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, launched in 1994 and aiming at combating desertification in all affected regions of the world.
In order to create favourable conditions for its implementation at all levels worldwide, the UNCCD defines five Regional Annexes: Annex I for Africa, Annex II for Asia, Annex III for Latin America and the Caribbean, Annex IV for the Northern Mediterranean, and the newly established Annex V for Central and Eastern Europe.
Each Regional Annex specifies scope, purpose and particular conditions of that region and provides guidelines for the preparation of Action Programmes which are the key instruments to implement the Convention. In this booklet a description of Regional and National Action Programmes of the countries of the Annex IV of the UNCCD is provided.

 

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LUCINDA Project 2006/2008