Desertification in Europe ? A Critical Comment With Examples From Mediterranean Europe

  • H. G. Mensching
Conference paper


A seminar on “Desertification in the European Countries” must point out clearly uhat the term “Desertification” means and uhere it applies. Desertification is not simply the process of land degradation or deterioration of natural ecological conditions in any region or country. Desertification is specifically defined by the uay human impact can produce desert-like conditions in the affected areas. This is only possible uhere regions are located in climatic zones uhich are characterized by a definite degree of climatic aridity. In Europe this is only the case in countries with a Mediterranean climate and sufficient summer dryness (cp. for example “Carte Bioclimatique de la Région Méditerranéenne”, UNESCO-FAO, 1962). It is only in these areas that ‘desert-like conditions’ can occur locally or regionally. In the humid countries, the degradational consequences follouing from human impact differ distinctly from those produced by desertification processes. Examples of consequences follouing from desertification are given from Spain and Sicily.


Soil Erosion Mediterranean Country Ecological Degradation Desertification Process Piedmont Plain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. G. Mensching
    • 1
  1. 1.Chairman of the IGU Working Group Resource Management in DrylandsUniversity of HamburgGermany

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