Advances in Earth Science ›› 2008, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 306-311. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2008.03.0306

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Desertification: Current State and Trends, Scenarios and Response Options

Zhang Yongmin 1,Zhao Shidong 2   

  1. 1. Department of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Henan University of Finance and Economics, Zhengzhou 450002, China; 2.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2008-01-14 Revised:2008-01-20 Online:2008-03-10 Published:2008-03-10

Zhang Yongmin,Zhao Shidong. Desertification: Current State and Trends, Scenarios and Response Options[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2008, 23(3): 306-311.

The synthesis report, ecosystems and human well-being: desertification synthesis, was briefly introduced in this paper. This report indicates: ① Desertification is occurring on all continents except Antarctica and affects the livelihoods of millions of people, including a large proportion of the poor in drylands. Therefore, desertification ranks among the greatest environmental changes today and is a major impediment to meeting basic human needs in drylands. ② In all four MA scenarios, desertified area is likely to increase, though at different rates. No scenario indicates a reversal in the threat of desertification. ③ Addressing desertification is critical and essential to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Effective prevention of desertification requires both local management and macro policy approaches that promote sustainability of ecosystem services, and the pressing task is to initiate a systematic global monitoring program, leading to development of a scientifically credible, consistent baseline and indicators of desertification. Major interventions and shifts in ecosystem management are needed to overcome challenges related to desertification. it is advisable to focus on prevention, because attempts to rehabilitate desertified areas are costly and tend to deliver limited results. ④ To better understand the significance of desertification, it is necessary to reduce uncertainties regarding the relationships among desertification, climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being.

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