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| Last Updated::24/1/2015

How can we prevent or reverse Desertification?

Effective prevention of desertification requires management and policy approaches that promote sustainable resource use. Prevention should be preferred to rehabilitation, which is difficult and costly. Major policy interventions and changes in management approaches, both at local and global levels, are needed in order to prevent, stop or reverse desertification. Prevention is a lot more cost-effective than rehabilitation, and this should be taken into account in policy decisions. Addressing desertification is critical and essential to meeting the Millennium Development Goals which aim to eradicate extreme poverty and ensure environmental sustainability amongst other objectives. The creation of a "culture of prevention" that promotes alternative live live hoods and conservation strategies can go a long way toward protecting drylands both when desertification is just beginning and when Unsustainable use of resources can contribute to is ongoing. It requires a change in governments' and peoples' Even once land has been degraded, rehabilitation and restoration attitudes. Building on long-term experience and active innovation, measures can help restore lost ecosystem services. The success of dryland populations can prevent desertification by improving agricultural rehabilitation practices depends on the availability of human resources, and grazing practices in a sustainable way. Funds, and infrastructures. It requires a combination of policies and technologies and the close involvement of local communities. Is there a link between desertification, global climate change, and biodiversity loss? Desertification diminishes biological diversity, a diversity which contributes to many of the services provided to humans by dryland ecosystems. Vegetation and its diversity are key for soil conservation and for the regulation of surface water and local climate. Desertification also contributes to global climate change by releasing to the atmosphere carbon stored in dryland vegetation and soils. The effect of global climate change on desertification is complex and not yet sufficiently understood. On the one hand, higher temperatures resulting from increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can have a negative impact through increased loss of water from soil and reduced rainfall in drylands. On the other hand, for certain species, an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can boost plant growth. Environmental management approaches for combating desertification, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating climate change are linked in many ways, thus a joint implementation of the U.N. Conventions to Combat Water-erosion and reduced soil conservation negatively affects ecosys-Desertification, on Biological Diversity, and on Climate Change can yield tem services multiple benefits. How can we better understand desertification? Scientifically robust and consistent information about the extent of land Uncertainties remain about the way various biological, physical, social, degradation is important when it comes to identifying priorities and economic factors interact, which limits our ability to assess the actual monitoring the consequences of actions. Effect of policies on desertification. Among other things, the impact of poverty reduction strategies on ecosystem services and desertification previous assessments had diverse shortcomings that made them has not yet been fully explored. The impact of cities in dryland areas also unreliable. Remote sensing and long term monitoring are needed to has to be evaluated, since they may both increase and relieve pressures better understand desertification processes and determine the extent of on desertified areas. Desertification. Additionally, to better comprehend the impacts of desertification on human well-being we need to improve our knowledge of the interactions between socioeconomic factors and changing ecosystem conditions.