Desertification: Exploding the Myth

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9780471948155: Desertification: Exploding the Myth
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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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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780199133697: Desertification (Contemporary Issues in Geography S.)

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ISBN 10:  0199133697 ISBN 13:  9780199133697
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1991
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Thomas, David S. G., Middleton, Nicholas J.
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