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End of Desertification

As the title “The End of Desertification” suggests, this book critically examines the desertification narrative, which is exposed as a public policy construct rather than a sound scientific concept. The book is edited by Roy Behnke and Michael Mortimore, two leading experts in dryland science, who tie together contributions from experts in the physical and social sciences, which all examine different angles of the concept of "desertification", to develop the argument that the late 20th century desertification crisis in the Sahel has actually never happened. Although shortcomings of the concept have been known for decades, the narrative has been institutionalized at the global level even as the scientific basis for its use grows weaker. This book* is an effort to critically examine the experience learning from a protracted period of interaction between science and public policy in the Sahel and accelerate the learning process in other parts of the world.

Stefanie M. Herrmann, 2006 ALRS graduate, contributed a chapter in this book together with Tene Kwetche Sop:  “The Map Is not the Territory: How Satellite Remote Sensing and Ground Evidence Have Re-shaped the Image of Sahelian Desertification”

Excerpt from the abstract:

“The discrepancy between satellite-observed greening trends and changes in woody vegetation on the ground—in both directions—emphasizes the need of integrating multiple perspectives and scales in the interpretation of greening trends with respect to desertification.”

*The book is published by Springer International Publishing AG which is part of the series Springer Earth System Sciences.


Last updated 27 Apr 2016