Since 1990, 1.7 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water, but 884 million people are still without. By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.

This 5th CROSSTALKS book presents a series of great academic and corporate projects that address the challenges associated with water governance and environmental issues, intertwined with contributions by world-class artists who give us a language to discuss these challenges in a metaphorical yet often crystal clear way.

With water government as one of the 7 critical issues at the upcoming RIO20+ Conference, this book forms the perfect background literature.

Marleen Wynants, Goedele Nuyttens (eds.), Bridges over Troubled Waters, VUBPRESS, 272 p.

ISBN 978-90-7028-928-7

The book can be ordered on or on

Desertification Indicators (Google / Wiley)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Desertification Indicators: From Concept to Practice

  1. Anton Imeson1,2

Published Online: 21 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119977759.ch3

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Approaches to desertification indicators

  • Global and regional indicators of land degradation and desertification

  • Applying selected concepts in practice

  • Desertification, resilience and stability

  • The soil and water conservation and protection functions

  • Spatial variability and discontinuity

  • Hydrological indicators of desertification

  • Water in the soil and landscape

  • References and further reading

A Green Revolution for trees (Agricultural Biodiverssity Weblog)

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A Green Revolution for trees


Prof Roger Leakey, sometime of ICRAF (among other places), where he pioneered tree domestication in support of rural livelihoods, and now Vice Chairman of the International Tree Foundation, has a fascinating new book in the offing.

In contrast to the doom and gloom often emanating from the tropics, ‘Living with the Trees of Life’ illustrates how many different aspects of agricultural science can be combined into a more robust approach to farming, which will be productive, as well as more environmentally and socially sustainable. This approach uses agroforestry as a delivery mechanism for multifunctional agriculture aimed at addressing the cycle of land degradation and social deprivation in the tropics. A key role in this is played by the ‘Trees of Life’, the large number of indigenous trees that produce marketable fruits, nuts, medicines and other products of day-to-day importance in the lives of local people throughout the tropics.

The book promises to be very practical.


GIS and Desertification in the Arab World (Google / IDOSI)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Estimating Desertification in the Arab World Using GIS Approach

Ali Mansour Ali Saad and Noresah Mohd Shariff

Geography Programme, School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Malaysia

Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 8 (6): 1046-1053, 2011
ISSN 1990-9233
© IDOSI Publications, 2011


More than 150 countries of the world are facing the problems of desertification and this figure includes most of the Arab countries. About one-third of desert lands in the world are located in the Arab countries. Approximately, 90 percent of the total area of the Arab world is categorized as dry land and is characterized by harsh environment, fragile ecosystems in addition to limited water resources and arable lands. Several efforts have been made thus far to bring to a halt the desertification in Arab countries but still, it remains the major environmental problem in the region. Several factors such as increasing
population growth, increasing demands of food and other natural products and migration are identified to be the major contributing factors for desertification.

This paper analyzes the status of desertification in the Arab countries, identifies the major causes and trends of land degradation and accentuates the limitations and constraints in combating desertification. This study also highlights the applications of remote sensing and GIS in estimating and monitoring desertification in the Arab countries. GIS and remote sensing techniques can provide improved quality and quantity of information on degradation trends over large areas and provide for more effective management of the information about desertification.


Book : ‘Desertification, Land Degradation and Sustainability’ (A. IMESON / Wiley)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Imeson, Anton

1. Edition – November 2011
ca. 44.90 Euro
2011. 352 Pages, Softcover
ISBN-10: 0-470-71449-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-470-71449-2 – John Wiley & Sons

Detailed description
Desertification offers a comprehensive overview of the subject and clearly emphasizes the link between local and global desertification processes and how past and current policy has affected arid environments and their populations.

This text adequately applies the research undertaken during the last 15 years on the topic. Desertification has become increasingly politicized and there is a need to present and explain the facts from a global perspective. This book tackles the issues surrounding desertification in a number of ways from differing scales (local to global), processes (physical to human), the relationship of desertification to current global development and management responses at different scales. Desertification has been mainstreamed and integrated into other areas of concern and has consequently been ignored as a cross cutting issue. The book redresses this balance.



Studies of resource management in four areas (Google books)

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Perception of desertification

R. L. Heathcote

United Nations University, 1980 – 134 pages

Volume 10 of NRTS (UNUP)

ISBN9280801902, 9789280801903

Most studies of desertification, acknowledge the role of human activity in affecting & often initiating the process. That human activity is in response to a variety of decisions on & systems of resource management.

This publication provides studies of resource management in four areas where desertification is said to be occurring & documents the role of perception of desertification in the decision-making on resource management.

The studies are on the dry zone of Sri Lanka, the Southern Great Plains of North America, the Murray Mallee of Southern Australia & the irrigation of the Murray Valley in South Australia.

—————– Continue reading “Studies of resource management in four areas (Google books)”

In situ conservation of crop wild relatives (New Agriculturist / Earthscan)

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Crop wild relatives – A manual of in situ conservation

Edited by Danny Hunter and Vernon Heywood
Published by Earthscan
2011, 414pp, ISBN 978 1 84971 179 1 (Pb), £29.99

Crop wild relatives (CRW) are a vital source of genetic variation, and will be increasingly important as plant breeders strive to meet the challenges of a changing climate. However, despite widespread publicity of their importance, a recent survey published in Science revealed that there was no decrease in the rate of biodiversity loss between 1970 and 2010.

This comprehensive volume is the first in a new series of Issues in agricultural biodiversity, a joint project from Earthscan and Bioversity International, and provides practical guidance for CWR conservation worldwide. The book reads easily – a tribute to the authors and their editors – and numerous case studies indicate the urgent need for action in fields, forests and pasture lands. They also illustrate how the need for CWR conservation has been presented successfully to rural people, enabling them to implement action plans and transform their own lives and livelihoods in the process.


Pocket guides for paprika and chilli farmers in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique (New Agriculturist / ASNAPP)

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*ASNAPP – Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products

To support the activities of paprika and bird’s eye chilli farmers in the Chinyanja Triangle (Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique), two technical pocket guides – containing production and post-harvest information – have been compiled. The simple guidelines also recommend grading systems to help farmers increase the quality and marketability of their products.

To combat the lack of adequate and simple guides, ASNAPP* brought together service providers, research institutions, universities, government ministers, NGOs, traders and representatives of smallholder farmers’ associations to unpack available technical guidelines. Together they created a durable pocket size booklet that presents step-by-step instructions pictorially so farmers can clearly understand and implement the best practices.

How to Grow Food in Your Polytunnel (City Farmer News / Green Books)

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Linked by Michael Levenston

By Andy McKee and Mark Gatter
Green Books
October 22, 2010

Are you using your polytunnel to its full potential? If so, not only will it provide you with tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer, but you’ll also be harvesting fresh crops all year round, even when the ground outside is frozen. You could be harvesting sweet potatoes and late celery in November; winter radish, baby carrots and celeriac in early February; and salads leaves right through the winter. Even in the ‘hungry gap’ you’ll have a choice of new potatoes, pak choi, broad beans, peas, tender cabbages, cauliflower, beetroot and more.

How to Grow Food in Your Polytunnel has all the information you need to make the most of this precious covered space, including:


New Earthscan Books

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To receive our standard 20% discount for all Earthscan books please use the voucher code EN1210 when you order online. We are also offering a 50% discount on personal journals subscriptions for 2011. Email to place your order.

This month’s highlights

‘Scarcity has powerful meanings and uses. Lyla Mehta follows the political career of scarcity in the modern world and, in turn, makes us look at the shape of that world in a new light.’
Frank Trentmann, author of Free Trade Nation and Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London

The Limits to Scarcity looks at how scarcity has emerged as a totalizing discourse and questions its taken-for-granted nature. Chapters examine scarcity debates across three of the most important resources – food, water and energy – and their implications for theory, institutional arrangements, policy responses and innovation systems. The authors demonstrate that scarcity is not a natural condition: the problem lies in how we see scarcity and the ways in which it is socially generated.

Buy this book • Free chapter download

‘Whoever really cares for the future of mankind’s food should read this book. Crop wild relatives are essential for attaining a sustainable agriculture.’ Professor Jose Sarukhan, Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are plant species which are more or less closely related to crops. Providing a pool of genetic variation that can be used in breeding new and better adapted varieties of crops that are resistant to stress, disease, drought and other factors, they will be increasingly important in allowing crops to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Crop Wild Relatives presents new research into good practices and conditions for their effective conservation with case studies from around the world.

Buy this book Continue reading “New Earthscan Books”

Publications: Appropriate Technology (Research Information Ltd)

Research Information publishes specialist scientific and technical magazines, newsletters and academic journals. Edited and produced by a team of experts in their respective subjects, each is a must-have to stay up-to-date with the latest news, methods, events and techniques.

Appropriate Technology

Includes FREE access to online archive for current subscribers

Now in publication – the French edition of this important publication.
Ici maintenant! l’édition en français de cette grande publication.

ISSN: 0305 0920 (Print) — 1751-6900 (Online)
Now incorporating International Agricultural Development
and gate-technology & development

About this Publication
View/Download a Sample Copy (PDF)
View Contents Pages
FREE Contents Alert Service
Request Online Access (Subscribers Only)
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Try Our Sample Online Archive (1 issue)
and Online Search Function

REDD+ in dryland forests (IIED)

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International Institute for Environment and Development

REDD+ in dryland forests: Issues and prospects for pro-poor REDD in the miombo woodlands of southern Africa

Published: May 2010 – IIED
Language: English
Price: £23.00 UK
and $35.00 US, $0.00 to Non-OECD countries

Implementing REDD+ programs involves providing sufficient incentives to land users and requires a supportive policy, legal and institutional environment. Community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) in the miombo ecoregion of east and southern Africa has addressed these issues in its evolution. This has seen the evolution of policy, legal and institutional mechanisms that attach market value to commonly controlled resources and facilitate market-led conservation, leading to some successful sustainable management of natural resources. The lessons from CBNRM in the miombo ecoregion provide a basis on which REDD+ in dry-land forests can build. While there has been a general positive trend in the development of supportive policies at regional level, individual countries are at different stages of a policy continuum. In a region where poverty is high and is also a key driver of land use change, REDD+ mechanisms need to be pro-poor, explicitly addressing and building the assets and capability of the poorest households at policy level and in practice. They also need to pay for the value of land uses that the poor could have otherwise pursued in the absence of REDD+ as well as the costs of facilitating the implementation of REDD+ in environments where forest resources are often jointly owned or managed by communities. These costs are highly variable across the region.

The Program on Forests (PROFOR) supported a research project in the miombo ecoregion to address these and other issues that a REDD program in the region would be confronted with. Three country case studies covering Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia were used to draw lessons from CBNRM that could inform pro-poor REDD as well as providing the likely opportunity costs of REDD+. The study draws on well – documented experiences of CBNRM and wide consultations undertaken by country experts during the study.

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