Development of Land Degradation Assessments

  • Genesis T. Yengoh
  • David Dent
  • Lennart Olsson
  • Anna E. Tengberg
  • Compton J. TuckerIII
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science book series (BRIEFSENVIRONMENTAL)


Early assessments of land degradation like the Global Assessment of Soil Degradation (GLASOD) (Oldeman et al. 1990) were compilations of expert opinion. They are unrepeatable and systematic data show them to be unreliable (Sonneveld and Dent 2009). Under the FAO/UNEP program Land Degradation in Drylands (LADA), Bai et al. (2008) undertook a global assessment of land degradation and improvement (GLADA) by analysis of linear trends of climate-adjusted GIMMS NDVI data. GLADA, the first quantitative assessment of global land degradation, aimed to identify and delineate hot spots of land degradation, and their counterpoint—bright spots of land improvement (Bai et al. 2008). The study revealed that about 24 % of the global land area was affected by land degradation between 1981 and 2003. Humid areas accounted for 78 % of the global degraded land area, while arid and semiarid areas accounted for only 13 %. Cropland and rangelands accounted for 18 % and 43 %, respectively, of the 16 % of global land area where the NDVI increased. The authors observed a positive correlation between population density and NDVI but, also, a correlation between poverty and land degradation. They emphasized that NDVI cannot be other than a proxy for land degradation and that it reveals nothing about the kind of degradation or the drivers (Bai et al. 2008).


Land Degradation Digital Elevation Model Semiarid Area Humid Area Land Improvement 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genesis T. Yengoh
    • 1
  • David Dent
    • 2
  • Lennart Olsson
    • 1
  • Anna E. Tengberg
    • 1
  • Compton J. TuckerIII
    • 3
  1. 1.Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies - LUCSUSLundSweden
  2. 2.Chestnut Tree Farm, Forncett EndNorthfolkUK
  3. 3.Department of Hydrospheric and Biospheric SciencesNASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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