Desertification: Past, Current and Future Trends


Victor Roy Squires (Editor)
Institute of Desertification Studies, Beijing

Ali Ariapour (Editor)
Department of Range Management, Borujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd, Iran

Series: Environmental Research Advances
BISAC: SCI020000

This book (with a foreword by eminent desertification specialist, Dr. Alan Grainger of Leeds University) provides a synthesis of what desertification means in the present day context of worldwide concerns about land degradation in the face of global (including climate) change, burgeoning populations, urbanization, and loss of biodiversity. It defines and describes desertification in its many forms and examines efforts to combat land degradation. The authors present some models that relate to the current impact of climate change on desertification as well as the medium to long term, and offer case studies on efforts to combat desertification in the major regions of the world. In the last chapter, we attempt to synthesize the whole book in the context of the post-2015 agreements on climate change (the Paris Accord) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Chapters concerning the historical context of desertification consider the definition and meanings associated with the word “desertification”; discuss the global extent and severity of the many types of desertification; and explain the current status of desertification in the “post-2015 context”. The book also discusses the impacts of desertification on ecosystems and people along with biodiversity; dust and sand storms from desertified landscapes; and the people affected by desertification. Chapters also focus on desertification and climate change, and consider the nexus between climate, soil, water and people; climate variability, land use and livelihoods affected by desertification are also analyzed.

Chapters on combating desertification focus on combating desertification and act as an overview of proven practices with a detailed case study from China. Finally, synthesis and conclusions are consider the future of those affected by desertification, dealing firstly with medium to long term future outlooks and secondly with attempting to sum up the trends.


Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Desertification: History and Analysis of Land Degradation in Dryland Environments
(John Oswald and Sarah Harris, East Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, US)

Chapter 2. A Changing Narrative on Desertification and Degradation in South Africa
(G. P. von Maltitz, G. H. L. Lindeque and K. Kellner, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa, and others)

Chapter 3. The Maghreb (North Africa) Rangelands’ Evolution over Forty Years: Regreening or Degradation?
(Aziz Hirche, Mostefa Salamani, Mohamed Tarhouni, Dalila Nedjraoui, Mustapha El Hag, El Hadi Gashut, Boughani Abdelmadjid, Nacer Adi, Ratiba Hourizi, Azaiez Ouled Belgacem, Mohamed Grandi, Nabil Ben Khetra, Mourad Brik and Said Amrani, Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Sciences and Technology, Houari Boumediene (USTHB), Algiers, Algeria)

Chapter 4. Desertification in Iran and Efforts to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Variability
(Shiva Souzani and Ali Ariapour, Borujerd, Iran, and others)

Chapter 5. Desertification in the Western Part of Iran with Special Reference to Dust and Sand Storms
(Ali Ariapour and Soodabeh Namdari, Department of Range Management, Borujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd, Iran)

Chapter 6. Commentary on Desertification Prevention and Control: China’s Solutions to a Serious Problem
(Victor R Squires, Guest Professor, Institute of Desertification Studies, Beijing)

Chapter 7. Desertification on the Silk Road through Asia’s Drylands and Deserts: The Quest for Sustainable Development
(Victor Squires and Feng Haiying, Guest Professor, Institute for Desertification Studies, Beijing, China, and others)

Chapter 8. Wildfire Contribution to Desertification at Local, Regional, and Global Scales
(D. G. Neary, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Southwest Watershed Science Team, Flagstaff, Arizona, US)

Chapter 9. The Role of Grazing Ruminants in Desertification Processes
(Victor R. Squires, Adelaide, Australia)

Chapter 10. Desertification: Is It Really at an End or Has It Morphed into Something Else?
(Victor R. Squires and Ali Ariapour, Guest Professor, Institute of Desertification Studies, Beijing, and others)

About the Editors



“Desertification, which is generally regarded as a special case of land degradation, has been an issue of global concern for decades…It is clearly a highly topical issue and this contribution, edited by Victor Squires and Ali Ariapour, is both timeous and relevant to the debate. The book is comprised of 10 chapters, six of which are either authored or co-authored by the editors. Because of their background and experience, case studies from Iran and China have a stronger emphasis in this volume than is usually the case. However, the first chapter by John Oswald and Sarah Harris provides a very useful and balanced global overview of the desertification debate, which I would recommend as necessary reading for anyone wishing to undertake research in this field…READ MORE-M Timm Hoffman, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

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