Desertification

Desertification is a very broad term, which has been defined in many different ways. One definition is “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities”. However, a broader definition emphasizes “any progressive and unsustainable reduction in the ecosystem services provided by the soil”, so does not just incorporated drylands. The three most important processes for induced desertification are generally considered to be soil erosion, loss of soil fertility and long-term loss of natural or desirable vegetation.

On 21 June 2018, the JRC published a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification, offering a tool for decision makers to improve local responses to soil loss and land degradation.The Atlas provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures.The Atlas provides examples of how human activity drives species to extinction, threatens food security, intensifies climate change and leads to people being displaced from their homes. The Atlas gives a clear overview of the underlying causes of degradation worldwide. It also contains a large number of facts, forecasts and global datasets that can be used to identify important biophysical and socio-economic processes that, on their own or combined, can lead to unsustainable land use and land degradation.

You can download the World Atlas of Desertification