Desertification and land degradation are complex phenomena, and we need to understand their causes, consequences, and means to mitigate and combat their impact. Therefore, this book aims to explain the concept and characteristics of drylands, desert and desertification, land degradation, wastelands, and the concept of ecosystem services. It also discusses various types of processes of land degradation, their characteristics, physics and indicators along with mapping, monitoring and assessment of methods involved. The concept of Ocean Biological Deserts is discussed along with international and regional efforts toward combating land degradation and desertification.
- Provides all the aspects of desertification and land degradation at one place
- Includes comprehensive methods to monitor different desertification/land degradation processes
- Comprehensive overview of the mapping, monitoring and modelling techniques
- Role of space-borne data in identifying, monitoring and combating desertification is evaluated and reported with real case studies
- Explains the concept of ocean biological deserts, their characteristics and mapping
1. Introduction and Historical Perspective
2. Desert, Desertification and Land Degradation
3. Causes and Drivers
4. Desertification and Land Degradation Processes
5. Environmental and Social Impact
6. Ocean Biological Deserts
8. Remote Sensing Technique
9. Mapping and Monitoring Methods
10. Desertification Vulnerability Assessment
11. Combating Strategies
12. International Initiatives
13. Land Degradation Neutrality
Prof Ajai started his career in 1978 at the Space Applications Centre of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and served it for 42 years in various capacities including Group Director, Project Director, Program Coordinator, Professor and Emeritus Scientist. At ISRO, he has developed and operationalized techniques, based on space data and geospatial technology, for inventory, monitoring and combating desertification and land degradation, as well as for watershed development and sustainable land management. He has led the national team which carried out the first ever land degradation and desertification status mapping of India. Prof Ajai is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bhaskara Award, William Dixon West Award, GEO-LDN Prize, and National Geomatics Award for Excellence.
Dr Rimjhim Bhatnagar joined the Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 2004, where she has been pioneering work on the various aspects of land degradation and desertification, including regional and national level mapping, monitoring as well as development of models for desertification vulnerability assessment using space data and geospatial technology. She is a recipient of the prestigious Young Scientist award by the Indian Science Congress Association. Being passionate about sustainable development, her research work focuses on developing cutting-edge models and techniques in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
"One of the most precious resources we have is land. It is limited in its extent and it has to meet multiple competing and conflicting demands; as a result, there is continuous degradation of this critical resource. The book Desertification and Land Degradation: Concepts to Combating addresses this situation in an excellent and comprehensive manner.
The book is organized under thirteen major heads, which cover all aspects from a historical perspective – through Causes, Drivers, Processes, Impact, Remote Sensing Techniques, Vulnerability Assessment, and Combating Strategies. Notably, the issues of desertification and land degradation are not something new. These processes have been going on since ancient times but the rising population and consequent pressures on land have now accelerated the problem. The book clearly brings out the various causes and drivers – natural, anthropogenic, and administrative, which contribute to these processes.
The processes are dealt with in detail. Their impact on the natural environment and on society is well covered. This includes a very interesting chapter on Ocean Biological Deserts, which may initially appear to be out of place in a book on land degradation. However, oceans are a source of food for coastal communities, and human activities on land are known to have destroyed ocean resources leading to a desertification effect on oceans and seas as well.
The book proceeds beyond this and covers the indicators that signify in advance the possible onset or extension of land degradation. This is very important because these indicators must be detected through mapping and monitoring, using various techniques such as remote sensing. These techniques are further used to assess the vulnerability of natural features and communities, which then leads to the evolution of combating strategies. Here, several case studies from all over the world have been given as examples. The book concludes with a chapter on international initiatives and the move towards Land Degradation Neutrality. This is important because degradation transcends national boundaries.
Overall, the book is an excellent exposition of the issues and their possible amelioration. It should be essential reading for all those working towards a sustainable future."
– Arup Dasgupta, Geospatial World – July-August 2022 Issue