Global desertification and Dryland Development (Google Alert / Science)

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Google Alert for Desertification

Science -AAAS

Global Desertification: Building a Science for Dryland Development

Science 11 May 2007:
Vol. 316. no. 5826, pp. 847 – 851
DOI: 10.1126/science.1131634

James F. Reynolds,1* D. Mark Stafford Smith,2 Eric F. Lambin,3 B. L. Turner, II,4 Michael Mortimore,5 Simon P. J. Batterbury,6 Thomas E. Downing,7 Hadi Dowlatabadi,8 Roberto J. Fernández,9 Jeffrey E. Herrick,10 Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald,11 Hong Jiang,12 Rik Leemans,13 Tim Lynam,14 Fernando T. Maestre,15 Miguel Ayarza,16 Brian Walker2 In this millennium, global drylands face a myriad of problems that present tough research, management, and policy challenges. Recent advances in dryland development, however, together with the integrative approaches of global change and sustainability science, suggest that concerns about land degradation, poverty, safeguarding biodiversity, and protecting the culture of 2.5 billion people can be confronted with renewed optimism. We review recent lessons about the functioning of dryland ecosystems and the livelihood systems of their human residents and introduce a new synthetic framework, the Drylands Development Paradigm (DDP). The DDP, supported by a growing and well-documented set of tools for policy and management action, helps navigate the inherent complexity of desertification and dryland development, identifying and synthesizing those factors important to research, management, and policy communities.

1 Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and Department of Biology, Post Office Box 90328, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
2 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Sustainable Ecosystems, Post Office Box 284, Canberra, ACT 2602, Australia.
3 Université Catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
4 Graduate School of Geography and George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610, USA.
5 Drylands Research, Cutters’ Cottage, Glovers’ Close, Milborne Port, Sherborne DT9 5ER, UK.
6 School of Social and Environmental Enquiry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.
7 Stockholm Environmental Institute, Oxford Office, 266 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7DL, UK.
8 Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
9 Facultad de Agronomia and Instituto de Investigaciones Fisiológicas y Ecológicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires/CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigacione, Científicas y Técnicas), Buenos Aires C1417DSE, Argentina.
10 U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range MSC 3JER, Box 30003, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003–8003, USA.
11 Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Camino a la Presa San José 2055, San Luis Potosí, S.L.P. 78216, México.
12 Department of Geography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
13 Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, Post Office Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.
14 CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, PMB PO, Aitkenvale, Qld 4814, Australia.
15 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Área de Biodiversidad y Conservación, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y tecnológicas, C/Tulipán s/n, Móstoles, 28933 Spain.
16 CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture)–Honduras, Edificio de DICTA en la Secretaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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