Desertification: Loss of credibility despite the evidence

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Abstract

The reasons for loss of credibility are first scientism and evasion, which feed oversimplification and confusion as the primary reasons. A case study from central Sudan is used to illustrate of these issues. Credibility has drained away with the deflection of focus from matters that are patently “ desertification” ; and with the deployment of confusing science. The choice to emphasize land degradation was the crucial misjudgement. Land degradation is very difficult to assess, and is anyway seldom the critical issue in dryland management. Evidence is then given for seven types of desertification, in two categories, all of which, on the contrary, are measurable and demonstrably important constraints on drylands production. The “ local” issues are dune and sand ovement, salinisation and falling water tables. The global issues are devegetation, dust, and rainfall decline. The global concerns need global management.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
JournalAnnals of Arid Zone
Volume42
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes