Differences in resource management affects drought vulnerability across the borders between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study investigates the 2007-2009 Fertile Crescent drought in the border region of Syria, Iraq and Turkey from an agricultural perspective using satellite based vegetation data combined with precipitation and land cover data. We look at the trends in vegetation productivity between 2001 and 2015, as well as the different politico-economic factors affecting land management leading up to the drought. The findings show that while the drought was severe in Syria, it was not the only country affected by this drought, nor necessarily the worst hit. The agricultural drought lasted two years in most affected areas on the Syrian and Iraqi sides, however only one year in the affected areas on the Turkish side. We find that Turkey experienced an overall improvement in land productivity between 2001 and 2015, while Syria and Iraq show a negative productivity trend. Our analysis of government initiative when it comes to resource management suggests that such policies play an important role in drought mitigation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography


  • Drought, Hydropolitics, Turkey's foreign policy, Syria Politics, Iraq, drought mitigation
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 12
Publication categoryResearch