Desertification, land use, and the transformation of global drylands

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Desertification is an escalating concern in global drylands, yet assessments to guide management and policy responses are limited by ambiguity concerning the definition of “desertification” and what processes are involved. To improve clarity, we propose that assessments of desertification and land transformation be placed within a state change–land-use change (SC–LUC) framework. This framework considers desertification as state changes occurring within the context of particular land uses (eg rangeland, cropland) that interact with land-use change. State changes that can be readily reversed are distinguished from regime shifts, which are state changes involving persistent alterations to vegetation or soil properties. Pressures driving the transformation of rangelands to other types of land uses may be low, fluctuating, or high, and may influence and be influenced by state change. We discuss how the SC–LUC perspective can guide more effective assessment of desertification and management of drylands.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Desertification, land use, and the transformation of global drylands
Series title Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
DOI 10.1890/140162
Volume 1
Issue 13
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 28
Last page 36
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N