Desertification risk assessment tool


Photo credit: DESIRE

Stage 4 in the process of linking desertification and land degradation indicators to land use practices

Effective land desertification protection requires both appropriate land management practices and macro policy approaches that promote sustainability of ecosystem services. It is preferable for actions to focus on protection or prevention rather than on rehabilitation of desertified areas since such areas are usually at high stage of land degradation and the expected profitability of applying measures is low.
Photo credit: DESIRE –

The priority for land users is to apply appropriate land management practices to protect the productivity of sensitive areas to desertification and thus prevent active degradation processes.

A number of indicators have been shown to be important in affecting land degradation processes or causes. Many of the indicators are for properties that cannot easily altered at farm level (such as Soil depth, Slope gradient and Rainfall seasonality). However, indicators related to land management (such as No tillage, Storage of water runoff, and Grazing control) can be changed by the farmer.

A Desertification Risk Assessment Tool has been designed to enable users to

  • analyse a wide range of alternatives for land management practices for reducing land desertification risk;
  • evaluate and select the most important indicators through which desertification risk may be assessed in a variety of locales worldwide;
  • develop a consensus among various groups (such as politicians, managers and experts) when assessing desertification risks.

Read the full article: DESIRE


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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