Prevention and Remedies

  • Monique Mainguet
Part of the Springer Series in Physical Environment book series (SSPENV, volume 9)


It will be noted that, in this book, I have chosen to use the expression land degradation rather than desertification. Nevertheless it is useful to keep the word desertification with its double meaning: (a) of a desert-like landscape replacing productive land, and (b) of irreversible degradation, without following the widespread trend which includes under desertification all types of degraded resources even in humid ecosystems. Even if restricted to these meanings: conversion to a desert and irreversibility, the word desertification does not eliminate ambiguity. The question is not just a theoretical one; there is also a practical problem, which is to consider the realities as they appear to our common sense and to draw conclusions only after analysis of existing cases and components of the problem:
  1. 1.

    Under our present terms of reference desert-like landscapes replacing productive lands can be observed only in seasonally or occasionally dry areas: e.g., the drylands of the American West, Australia, China, and the USSR. Land degradation occurs in all ecosystems: between 1961 and 1976 Canada lost more than 3.5 million ha of farmland (Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 1986). But this land did not become a desert and does not look like one.



Clay Permeability Depression Animal Manure Silt 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monique Mainguet
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géographie Physique ZonaleUniversité de ReimsReimsFrance

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