Title: Monitoring and assessment of land degradation and desertification: Towards new conceptual and integrated approaches
Citation: LAND DEGRADATION & DEVELOPMENT vol. 22 no. 2 p. 150-165
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC58068
ISSN: 1085-3278
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC58068
DOI: 10.1002/ldr.1075
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The implementation of the UNCCD needs agreed, scientifically sound and practical methodologies for monitoring and assessing the state and trend of land degradation as well as for monitoring the performance of management programs. The lack of sufficient and integrated monitoring and assessment (M&A) has in the past been identified as a major constraint for combating desertification. Implementing efficient M&A programs, however, requires careful analysis of the information needs of the different stakeholders, a clear scientific concept of the processes and drivers of land degradation and an analysis of the theoretical and practical possibilities for adequate M&A. This paper briefly analyses the information needs of diverse stakeholders, reviews existing M&A systems, and highlights key aspects for a scientifically sound approach to monitoring and assessment. Analysis of these approaches shows that in spite of their relevance, standardised procedures for their implementation at operational scales are lacking. This is partly attributable to the lack of agreed and clear definitions, related difficulties in defining and hence in measuring the attributes chosen to represent land degradation and desertification and the varying degrees of paucity of field data. There is also the urgent need to better integrate bio-physical and socio-economic aspects of desertification through a suitably robust scientific framework that links the drivers, processes and symptoms of desertification. This should allow identifying key variables to be monitored and enable better forecasting and assessment of vulnerability, thereby providing highly important information for policy- and decision-making.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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