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Desertification By David S. G. Thomas

by David S. G. Thomas

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Explores the controversial and often-misused concept of desertification as an environmental issue and contends from new research that the "reality" of the expanding desert is not so much an objective scientific fact, as a political, social and observational construct.
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Desertification Summary

Desertification: Exploding the Myth by David S. G. Thomas

Desertification, the conversion of fertile land on the fringe of the arid zones of the tropics to sterile, useless waste, is one of the great issues of global environmental concern. Blamed on global warming, poor agricultural practice, population pressure or soil erosion, it has generated a large scientific literature, great global concern, massive research funding and a host of policy and environmental books intent on investigation and control. The point of this book is to argue that the process of desertification as an objective scientific measurable reality does not actually exist and that the need to demonstrate that the "threatening ever-expanding desert" and its corollary of irreversible environmental change, arises more from social, political or ecoactivist priorities than scientific ones. Here, David Thomas, an internationally known authority on dry land geomorphology, and Nick Middleton, science writer and desert researcher, examine the origin of the "desertification myth", how it spawned multi-million dollar research initiatives and became regarded as a leading environmental issue, and with the aid of recent research findings, including the use of evidence from geographic information systems, they demonstrate that this much vaunted problem is very much smaller and less locally significant than previously accepted and that the "global process of desertification" as an environmental problem is simply chimerical. The book explores the political and institutional factors that created the myth, sustained it and now protects it against scientific criticism. As both an account of how the scientific method works and a critique of certain forms of environmental thinking, this book should be of interest to students and researchers in geography and environmental science, as well as those interested in institutional politics at the international level, and should alert the general reader to the political position-taking and wilful or inadvertent misuse of science that is behind at least one great environmental issue.

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Table of Contents

History of desertification; institutional developments; the institutional myth; causes of desertification; why does desertification occur?; unravelling the myth; key environmental issues; the future.

Additional information

Desertification: Exploding the Myth by David S. G. Thomas
David S. G. Thomas
Used - Very Good
John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.