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IDSB02 Readings Global Desertification Building a Science for Dryland Development.docx

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Political Science

IDSB02 Readings – Global Desertification: Building a Science for Dryland Development James F. Reynolds et al. - 2007  Drylands cover about 41% of the earth’s surface and are home to ~38% of the population but some form of severe land degradation is present between 10-20% of this land  This will affect some 250 M people in developing nations  This estimate will increase with climate change and pop growth  UN adopted the Convention to Combat Desertification – the CCD  CCD contributed by giving a definition of desertification in which stated land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub humid areas resulting from various factors (including climatic variations and human activities-> biophysical factors and social factors)  However the CCD receive little exposure in popular and scientific media; b/c no intl’ science program  The Dryland development paradigm (DDP) centres on the livelihoods of human populations in drylands and their dependencies on the environment (through study of human-environmental systems)  DDP responds to recent research and policy trends  DDP represents a convergence of insights from research in desertification, vulnerability, poverty alleviation, and community development  These fields come together in 5 general lessons on the condition and dynamics of human- environmental systems in sustainable dryland development: o Both researchers and practitioners need to adopt an integrated approach -> ecological and social issues are interwoven and thus the options for livelihood support and ecological management o There needs to be heightened awareness of slowly evolving conditions-> short term measures tend to be bandaid solutions and don’t solve persistent/chronic issues or deal w/continual change o Nonlinear processes need to be recognized-> dryland systems aren’t in equilibrium, have multiple thresholds; thus show multiple ecological and social states (they aren’t all the same!) o Cross scale interactions must be anticipated-> problems and solutions at one scale influence and are influenced by those at other scales o A much greater value must be placed on local environmental knowledge (LEK)-> its undervalued but central to the management of drylands  “Drylands syndrome” – dryland populations are among the most socially, ecologically, and politically marginalized people on Earth  Many drylan
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