Climate, desertification, drought, rangeland management and overgrazing.



Rangeland management and climate hazards in drylands: dust storms, desertification and the overgrazing debate

by Nick Middleton

in Natural Hazards (2016). – doi:10.1007/s11069-016-2592-6


This paper examines the theory and supporting evidence for links between desertification, drought and dust storms with a particular focus on studies undertaken in and around the Gobi Desert.

Overgrazing of rangeland by pastoralists has been the most commonly cited cause of desertification in global drylands for more than 30 years, but the evidence supporting this link is not always convincing. Nonetheless, overgrazing, desertification and dust storms are frequently connected, regardless.

Drought is another well-known and important driver of vegetation cover change. Distinguishing between vegetation cover adversely affected by drought and that reduced by grazing is imperative for policy makers because identifying the incorrect driver of vegetation change risks the development of inappropriate policy.

Open Access Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11069-016-2592-6

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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