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Title: Presentations at the second meeting of the Group of Experts

Presentations at the second meeting of the Group
of Experts
  • 1. The Group of Experts (GoE) met in Bonn,
    Germany, from 2 to 7 June 2003, to review in
  • the results of the activities carried
    out by its members during the period from
    November 2002 to
  • May 2003.
  • 2. The presentations were made by each
    coordinator on the following items
  • Assessment of desertification on the global,
    regional and national levels
  • To help in providing an updated World Atlas of
  • To assist in providing a science plan for land
    degradation research
  • Poverty and land degradation an assessment
  • To help in developing a web-based glossary of
    terms relevant for desertification
  • To reinforce a mechanism for an interactive and
    thematic data/metadata network
  • To assist in developing a common benchmark and
    indicators system for monitoring and evaluation
    of desertification
  • Case study Regional diagnosis for LAC on
    indicators and monitoring systems
  • Short-term early warning systems.
  • 3. Due to directives concerning the length
    of documents generated in the secretariat,
    presentations by
  • the coordinators of the Group of
    Experts are reproduced here in their entirety as
    presented at the
  • meeting. The secretariat has reproduced
    these presentations on the website as received
    and without
  • formal editing or translation. The
    summaries of these reports are contained in
  • ICCD/COP(6)/CST/3.

  • Page
  •  I. Assessment of desertification on the
    global, regional and national levels (item 1.1)
  • II. To help in providing an updated World
    Atlas of Desertification (item 1.2) 25
  • III. To assist in providing a science plan
    for land degradation research (item 1.3) 72
  • IV. Poverty and land degradation an
    assessment methodology (items 3 and 1.6) 109
  • V. To help in developing a Web-based
    glossary of terms relevant for
  • desertification (item 1.4) 129
  • VI. To re-enforce a mechanism for an
    interactive and thematic data / meta
  • data network (item 1.5) 149
  • VII. To assist in developing a common
    benchmarks and indicators system
  • for monitoring and evaluation of
    desertification (item 1.6) 160
  • VIII. Case study Regional diagnosis for LAC on
    indicators and
  • monitoring systems (item 1.6) 172
  • IX. Short-term early warning systems (item
    1.8) 211

Item 1.1 Assessment of Drought and
Desertification on the Global, Regional and
National Levels

Prof. Dr. Kazuhiko Takeuchi Department of
Ecosystem Studies Graduate School of Agricultural
and Life Sciences University of Tokyo Japan
Overview of the Assessment of Drought and
Desertification Several indicators have been
developed for assessing drought and
desertification however, effective benchmarks
are yet to be determined. A drought Early Warning
System (EWS) has already been established and
utilized for the prediction of drought through
modeling approaches. However, this is not
effective when considering countermeasures to
take account of the biophysical and
socio-economic information at the local level.
  • Concrete methodology for desertification
    assessment, particularly for developing
    benchmarks and indicators of land
    characteristics, has not been established. The
    benchmarks and indicators for drought EWS and
    desertification EWS are closely interrelated.
    However, a standard methodological framework of
    desertification EWS has not been realized due to
    a lack of agreement on benchmarks and indicators.
  • The DeMon-I and II projects have developed
    comprehensive modeling in Mediterranean regions
    (Lacaze et al., 1996 Hostert, 2001). However,
    there are no projects for model development in
    other regions, such as Asia and Africa. It can be
    said that there is no operational desertification
    assessment model that can be utilized to assess
    the effectiveness of countermeasures to combat
  • Evaluating and Structuring Methodology for
    Assessment of Drought and Desertification
  • 1.1. Objective of Drought and Desertification
  • The assessment of drought and desertification is
    a methodological framework for developing
    guidelines for countermeasures to be used when
    past and present conditions pass a threshold,
    beyond which environmental fluctuations cause
    serious damage to both the environmental and
    human ecosystems. Each threshold should be
    derived from the monitoring of natural and
    anthropogenic impacts fluctuating from seasonal
    to decadal time scales, and from local to global
    spatial scales.
  • First, we consider drought assessment and
    desertification assessment separately. Both have
    some common problems, and common characteristics
    of methodology for assessment. At the same time,
    they have some different characteristics. Since
    the time scale of drought is seasonal,
    methodologies for the prediction of drought
    occurrence and prevention are required, in short,
    an early warning system for drought. On the other
    hand, the time scale of desertification
    assessment is from a few years to decades.
    Long-term countermeasures are required for
    prevention. The long-term prediction and
    evaluation system is desertification EWS.
  • Both EWS's include common indicators such as
    Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI),
    rainfall fluctuation, vegetation cover, and
    population pressure. On the other hand, crop and
    livestock, food supply and consumption are more
    important factors for drought prediction. Land
    information and socio-economic issues are more
    important when considering desertification
    assessment (ICCD/COP(5)/CST/4, Table1).

Table 1. Characteristics of early
warning/monitoring systems for drought and
desertification (ICCD/COP(5)/CST/4)  
1.2. Benchmarks and Indicators for Drought and
Desertification Assessment
  • The report on benchmarks and indicators written
    by the CST held by COP2 in 1998
    (ICCD/COP(2)/CST/3/Add. 1) discusses the
    following 5 points
  • (1) Establishing a procedure to collect
  • (2) Developing the process of consultation and
    selecting a set of global indicators,
  • (3) Promoting a mechanism to evaluate
    applicability of indicators,
  • (4) Promoting institutional and technical
    capacities, and
  • (5) Maintaining the consultative process.
  • However, no indicators were proposed and were
    reflected in the National Action Programmes
    (NAPs). To develop indicators to be used in NAPs,
    a case study has been performed for the southern
    part of Africa Benchmarks and Indicators
    Report of the Permanent Inter-State Committee on
    Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the
    Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) on their
    initiative on the development of benchmarks and
    indicators (ICCD/COP(5)/CST/7).
  • That study examined the methodology of the
    evaluation of monitoring to contribute to develop
    impact and implementation indicators to NAPs. It
    also proposed the development of common
    indicators to enable inter-regional comparisons.
    In the report, desertification assessment was
    defined as the determination of the degree of
    desertification and the monitoring of its
    evolution. It should be emphasized that both the
    monitoring of impact and the implementation
    process are very important.
  • Moreover, it mentioned the Pressure-State-Response
    (PSR) model, and the Driving forces-Pressure-Stat
    e-Impact-Response (DPSIR) model, which is an
    improved version of the PSR model. However,
    concrete methodology was not clear, and
    benchmarks were hardly discussed. Future
    discussion of these points is needed.

1.3. Hierarchy of Drought and Desertification
  • Various systems of drought assessment have been
    established at an international level. For
    example, the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)
    developed by the United States (Gonzalez, 2001)
    for peoples vulnerability to food insecurity,
    and the Global Information and Early Warning
    System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS)
    established by the Food and Agriculture
    Organization of the United Nations (FAO), have
    been made practicable. However, the spatial
    resolution is insufficient for considering
    countermeasures at national and local levels. It
    is important to establish an organization to
    apply such systems on national and regional
  • It is necessary for food security to evaluate the
    socio-economic status of each region, as well as
    macro indicators such as populations. Macro
    environmental factors such as NDVI and
    precipitation fluctuation have been used for
    assessment on global and regional scales. It is
    now time to develop indicators at national and
    local scales and to monitor and assess them.
  • In terms of desertification assessment,
    desertification maps and degradation maps on an
    international scale have been published such as
    Global Assessment of the Status of Human-Induced
    Soil Degradation (GLASOD), but there is room for
    argument about whether the methodology used was
    objective or not. Therefore, more accurate
    evaluation of desertification is required based
    on scientifically credible procedures. Oldeman
    and van Lynden (1998) explained that the concept
    used in Soil Degradation Assessment for South and
    Southeast Asia (ASSOD) has a more cartographic
    base, and employing the concept of developing a
    GIS-georeferenced soil degradation database.
  • The Group of Experts (GoE) will give special
    attention to global desertification mapping. A
    more serious problem is the lack of progress of
    concrete discussions for practical
    desertification assessment. Except for a few
    examples, entire sequences of process,
    information collecting, monitoring, assessment
    and modeling of land information are still
    lacking. The ad hoc panel on EWS proposed to CST
    pilot studies for desertification EWS, on the
    basis of understanding this problem

2. Review Criteria and Basis on Which Drought and
Desertification Assessment is Evaluated
  • 2.1. Review of National Action Programs
  • On reading the reports written in English and
    open to the public on the UNCCD Web site we found
    that only a few national action programmes
    proposed indicators, benchmarks, assessments and
    modeling. The Gambia, India and Kenya discussed
    benchmarks. India, Kenya, Mongolia and Uzbekistan
    discussed modeling.
  • The Gambia national report (1999) discussed the
    benchmarks and indicators for measuring the
    progress of implementation. They not only made
    mention of the necessity of benchmarks and
    indicators, but also defined the indicators,
    baselines, targets and responsible party. The
    indicators were classified into 3 categories
    physical indicators, process indicators, and
    process result indicators. Physical indicators
    included items such as increasing forest cover
    and reduction in bushfires. Process indicators
    consisted of the indicators related to community
    management such as increased community forest
    management (CFM). Process result indicators
    included the benefits that the community received
    from the forest management and the participation
    of the community in the forest management plan.
  • In the second national report of the Gambia
    (2002), the benchmarks and indicators for
    measuring progress were discussed again and a
    matrix of indicators was proposed. The matrix of
    indicators is divided into strategic objectives,
    indicators and tools. The range of the discussion
    of the matrix is (1) livestock and range
    management, (2) agriculture, soil and water
    conservation, (3) forestry, wildlife and
    fisheries, (4) operational social dimensions, and
    (5) institutional framework for NAP

  • The national report of Kenya (2002), which
    recognized the effectiveness of Environmental
    Information Systems (EIS) for the assessment of
    land degradation, discussed both indicators and
    benchmarks. A conceptual model of the
    desertification process was proposed, in which
    natural factors and human induced factors were
    the major causes of desertification. In the
    report, EWSs were also described concretely as
    follows An EWS for drought and desertification
    should go beyond just assessing and monitoring of
    drought and desertification, to include
    vulnerability and risk assessment and maps (NAP
    Kenya 2002).
  • India also discussed benchmarks and indicators,
    after mentioning EWSs, Land Degradation
    Assessment in Drylands (LADA) and Millennium
    Ecosystem Assessment (MA). They noticed that
    Most countries, including India, do not use a
    scientifically based and verifiable set of
    benchmarks and indicators for monitoring and
    assessing desertification. The Indian report
    proposed criteria for selecting indicators taking
    account of the characteristics of the impact and
    implementation indicators. Moreover, the Indian
    report stated that a benchmark should be used in
    assessing trends over time.
  • The NAP of India (2001), which has the most
    advanced scientific view, discussed the
    methodology of the Assessment of resource
    status through soil-weather modeling approach.
    Based on the long-term experimental data, a
    number of models were developed to predict the
    effect of management/conservation practices on
    crop yield and resource losses.
  • In the NAP of Uzbekistan (1999) the processes of
    desertification were discussed in detail. The
    factors of desertification consisted of natural
    factors, anthropogenic factors, and their
    interactions. On the other hand, it insisted that
    the study of drought and desertification in the
    future should consider the following points
    degradation of vegetation cover, wind erosion,
    water erosion, soil salinity, dehumification and
    decrease of fertility, breach of the
    water-physical properties of soil, accumulation
    toxic contaminants in soil, influence of the
    animals on soil degradation, influence of
    anthropogenic factors, prognosis of drought,
    influence of the climatic changes, and using of
    wind and water power. For each of the 12 points
    the Uzbekistan report determined the
    corresponding leading scientific and educational
  • The Uzbekistan report also discussed the
    possibility of modeling desertification (Figure
    1). The distinctive feature of desertification in
    Uzbekistan is frequent sand-dust storm
    occurrences. Sand-dust storms accompanied by salt
    damage the regions surrounding the Aral Sea. The
    establishment of modeling methodology in these
    regions must provide useful information to
    neighboring regions such as China, Kazakhstan and
    Mongolia, where sand and dust storms have
    increasingly became a serious problem in recent

Figure 1. Desertification processes in Uzbekistan
(NAP of Uzbekistan, 1999)
2.2. Thematic Program Networks (TPNs)
  • In terms of Thematic Programme Networks (TPNs) in
    Asia, TPN 1 to 6 were planned, TPN 1 to 4 have
    been started, and TPN 5 launch meeting is to be
    held in Mongolia in 2003. TPN 1, which is hosted
    by China, aims at the monitoring and assessment
    of desertification. The inaugural meeting was
    held in Beijing, a related meeting was held at
    the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan,
    and two more meetings were held in Beijing. In
    the meetings the methodology of monitoring and
    assessment, remote sensing in particular, was
    mainly discussed. However, satisfactory outcomes
    were not achieved.
  • Currently, TPN1 is editing manuals of the
    indicators and benchmarks in Asia, as a
    prerequisite of monitoring and assessment. Though
    concrete indicators were proposed in TPN1,
    hierarchical differences among indicators, and
    the determination of benchmarks have not been
    discussed yet.
  • On the other hand, TPN5 that will be hosted by
    Mongolia aims at the mitigation of drought. The
    possibility of establishing the first drought
    early warning system in Asia will be discussed.
    It is worth discussing the possibility of
    desertification monitoring that includes land
    conditions. It is also worthy combining the pilot
    study proposed by the EWS ad hoc Panel on EWS
    with the discussions included in TPN5.

2.3. Operational Drought and Desertification
Assessment Systems
  • Drought Early Warning Systems
  • The short-term EWSs for drought include drought
    assessment at a basic level. For example, they
    utilize indicators such as the following crop
    status, food consumption, cultivation area,
    rainfall, population density and NDVI.
  • The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) is an
    information system developed to prevent
    starvation in sub-Saharan regions in Africa. FEWS
    is monitoring the regions with a high risk of
    food shortages that lead to starvation, and
    evaluating the climate and crop data, to find out
    which factors may have an effect on the food
    status of the region. The core structure of FEWS
    consists of monitoring and assessment.
  • The FAO Global Information and Early Warning
    System (GIEWS) on Food and Agriculture monitors
    the status of farm crops by utilizing rainfall
    predictions on the basis of Meteosat, and
    evaluates vegetation on the basis of NOAA/AVHRR.
    This system also includes monitoring and
    assessment as its core structure. Moreover, its
    distinctive feature is model development that
    integrates agro-climatic, socio-economic and
    human health data.
  • Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) operated
    by the World Food Programme (WFP), which was
    established to counteract unstable food supply
    and disasters, outputs digital maps of analyzed
    results. The FEWS and VAM satisfy the important
    condition of assessment, that is, the analysis of
    vulnerability risks.
  • Desertification Assessment
  • FAO mentioned Overall Assessment of
    Desertification (OAD), evaluated the current
    status and the necessity of desertification
    assessment, and pointed out the two following
    problems. Firstly, existing national and
    international data do not meet the present needs.
    Though global data such as GLASOD and SOTER have
    been utilized, they are not sufficient for
    building policies at a regional or national
    level, because the scale is less than one to ten
    million. Also, socio-economic parameters of
    desertification were not provided. Secondly,
    methodology for assessing and modeling
    desertification has not been completed.

  • Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands
    (LADA) and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)
  • Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands(LADA) and
    Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) are leading
    the discussion of desertification assessment.
    LADA is based on the collaboration of UNEP and
    UNCCD. MA is a much broader assembly of
    organizations, in which the UNCCD secretariat
  • LADA aims at the following objectives (i) to
    provide basic, standardized information,
    including maps, databases, etc. on the state of
    land degradation, its causes, its impacts, to
    combat land degradation, at national, regional,
    and global levels, (ii) to develop methods for
    land degradation assessment and monitoring at all
    levels, including methods for use by national
    organizations at local level, and (iii) to build
    capacities at all levels to enable the design and
    planning of interventions for mitigating land
    degradation and establish sustainable land use
    and management practices (ICCD/COP(5)/INF. 7).
  • MA covers existing assessments, and makes
    evaluations by focusing on the multilevel and
    holistic indicators and phenomena. MA focuses on
    the assessment of existing data and literature
    and also gives attention to the development of
    some new indicators addressing the ecosystem
    goods and services and their links to human well
    being (MA methods, p5).
  • MA is expected to address the question How well
    can scientists predict when threshold responses
    of ecosystems (that is, sudden and dramatic
    changes) might occur in response to species
    losses, increased nitrogen input, or invasive
  • The direct objectives of MA follow three themes
  • (1) Systemization of the existing assessments,
  • (2) Evaluation of response options and future
    prediction, and
  • (3) Capacity building of human, institution and
    organizational structures.
  • MA provides useful information from the viewpoint
  • (1) The objective of the increase in the total
    benefit from ecological goods and services, and
  • (2) Providing choices useful for decision-makers
    by evaluation of response options and future
  • MA intends to discuss the multi-scale assessment
    at global, regional and local levels.

2.4. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • According to the report summarizing the
    biodiversity in arid and sub-humid lands
    (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/4), six activities are
    required for the assessment of desertification
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is
    referred to for two reasons (1) The assessment
    of desertification is a subject for discussion in
    the Convention, and (2) One of the target
    ecosystems in the Convention is drylands, whose
    definitions are the same as that in the UNCCD.
  • (1) Assessment of the status and trends of
    biodiversity in dry and sub-humid lands and the
    effectiveness of conservation measures,
  • (2)  Identification of specific areas of value
    and/or under threat,
  • (3)  Further development of indicators of the
    biological diversity of dry and sub-humid lands
    and its loss, for use in the assessment of status
    and trends,
  • (4)  Building knowledge on ecosystem functioning,
  • (5)  Identification of local and global benefits
    of biodiversity and socio-economic impacts of its
    loss, and
  • (6)  Identification and dissemination of best
    management practices (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/4).
  • Moreover, this report mentioned the necessity of
    a closer connection to the UNCCD.
  • A global biodiversity outlook is being prepared,
    which to some extent, provides information at a
    global level. However, the land degradation in
    susceptible drylands was assessed utilizing the
    data of GLASOD.

Table 2. Identified EO production for
desertification (Anonymous, 2002)
  • 2.5. Hierarchy and Selection of Indicators
  • When the CST reviewed the benchmarks and
    indicators in the reports from the country
    Parties (ICCD/COP(4)/CST/5) the secretariat noted
    that there is an urgent need to develop
    indicators capable of being used at the community
    level and which are economically viable.
  • The proposal of the benchmarks and indicators
    system for desertification monitoring and
    assessment on the basis of the activity of TPN1
    in the Asia region, described the benchmarks as
    follows Benchmarks are the baseline that serves
    a starting point for evaluation and monitoring
    and thus provides the point of difference from
    which the land starts to degrade/improve.
    Benchmarks can be determined by identifying
    non-degraded land ecosystems under the same
    agro-climatic zone and natural conditions.
  • The report mentioned that the indicator system
    should include the four aspects pressure,
    state, desertification impact and implementation
    to which the DSR and DPSIR frameworks seemed to
    be applied.
  • For the selection of indicators at the broader
    scale, we have to depend on satellite imagery and
    statistical data. On the other hand, at a local
    scale, it is important to collect field data from
    field surveys and questionnaires. There exists a
    certain relationship between the hierarchy and
    the derived data. To realize drought and
    desertification assessment it is necessary to
    start with the good use of existing data. At this
    point, the desertification monitoring which will
    be launched by the Treaty Enforcement Services
    using the Earth Observation (TESEO) project is
    notable because of the full use of satellite
    images, which will display data on climate,
    hydrology and bio-physical conditions (Table 2).

3. Conclusions Drawn from the Methodology Review
and Review Criteria
  • 3.1. Benchmarks and indicators
  • The Possible Work Plan for Assessment by the GoE
    states that The group might wish to establish
    specific baselines and benchmarks using an
    appropriate baseline year. It is urgent to
    monitor and evaluate the trend of the indicators
    of pressure, status, impact and implementation in
    connection with those in a particular year. The
    CST should intensively discuss this point in
    relation to COP5. The NAPs reviewed in this
    report obviously lack such a viewpoint.
  • To solve this problem, the trend data should be
    collected intensively, and model stations for
    monitoring the trend of indicators should be
    established. Such stations must also contribute
    by examining the methodology of the collection of
    local data.

3.2. Possibility of Modeling in Drought and
Desertification Assessment
  • Modeling for drought assessment at global and
    regional levels has been established. In the
    future, it is necessary to develop them into
    holistic assessments by incorporating
    socio-economic factors and population conditions
    as well as political and religious conditions.
  • In developing countries establishment of drought
    assessment at national and local levels is
    constrained by low economic and technological
    levels. Especially at the local level, getting
    access to information itself is difficult. The
    development of methodology to solve these
    problems is an important task. The more local the
    target scale becomes, the more important it is to
    analyze natural, social and human factors, which
    are distinctly different from those at global
    scale. Therefore, the development of suitable
    indicators for the local level is required.
  • Establishment of modeling for assessment at the
    national and local levels depends on solving the
    problems such as difficulty in collecting and
    analyzing data caused by the low economic and
    technological levels in developing countries.
    Financial and technological assistance from
    developed countries to developing country is a
    critical need that must be considered when
    investigating this problem.
  • In terms of desertification assessment at a
    global level, improvement of the scientific
    accuracy of GLASOD, and starting revision
    activities on the basis of improved
    methodologies, are particularly important. The
    global evaluation of land and water resources is
    especially necessary to achieve the objective of
    understanding land degradation.
  • CILSS in the western part of Africa, OSS and TPN1
    in the Asian region are existing examples of
    desertification assessment at a regional level.
    However, they are limited to the stage of
    proposal of indicators. More effort is needed to
    determine benchmarks, to build models by
    combination of the indicators, and to evaluate
    the effectiveness of the implementations by
  • A general model including as much land and human
    information as the case studies of the DeMon-I
    and II projects provide, should be applied to
    Africa and Asia. Each regional group should
    discuss and build specific models at regional
    levels, based on the global model (Figure 2)

Figure 2. Flowchart of the SEMMED model (de Jong,
Local Indicators for Drought Assessment
  • Many of the experts agree that there are several
    aspects and facts to be taken into consideration
    in any complex evaluation or assessment of
    drought events the most important are as
  • 1) Climatic factors (development and trends)
    expressed by real meteorological data,
  • 2) Local hydrological/hydrographical data (mainly
    on precipitation and evapotranspiration, but also
    information on groundwater and surface water flow
  • 3) Soils (classification and present state of
  • 4) Vegetation and land use, and
  • 5) Economic evaluation of present agricultural
    use and looming trends due to global change.
  • Drought threat assessment has to deal with
    natural site-relevant factors and agricultural
    production practices as well as socio-economic
    evaluation of agricultural production and its
    impact on regional development. Certain aspects
    of land use and yield capacity might impose a
    threat of drought to one region but could be a
    favored impact for another region.
  • When expressing the result of an evaluation there
    are two main methods that can be followed 1)
    creating an integrating indicator taking into
    account all the above mentioned aspects, or 2)
    finding a method for the combination of different
    factors and data on an areal basis (e.g. using
    maps for the illustration of the spatial
    distribution of the different factors and putting
    these maps together with GIS techniques). In the
    case of development of drought sensitivity maps
    in a country or region we prefer the second way,
    but intensive research work is needed.

3.3. P-D-S-I-R Framework and Modeling
  • The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment divided their
    assessment into three components
  • (1) condition and trend assessment,
  • (2) scenario assessment, and
  • (3) response assessment.
  • Ordinary status indicators and benchmarks as well
    as implementation indicators and benchmarks
    correspond to both the condition and trend
    assessment, and the response assessment. The MAs
    proposal of the necessity of the scenario
    assessment is noteworthy. The scenario
    assessment, which predicts how the possible
    policies affect the current trend, must provide
    useful information for decision making when
    considering various backgrounds. Despite
    evaluation based on the prediction of the
    condition and trend assessment, in which large
    uncertainty may exist, it provides useful
    information for ordinary people to help them
    decide whether a policy should be supported or
    not, by understanding the fluctuation range of
    the prediction and the potential consequences of
    the decision.

Figure 3. A framework for EWS on desertification
(Kar and Takeuchi, 2001)
  • References
  • Anonymous (2002) Treaty enforcement services
    using earth observation desertification.
    Obtained from http//styx.esrin.esa.it5000/teseo/
  • de Jong, S. M., Paracchini, M. L., Bertolo, F.,
    Folving, S., Megier, J., de Roo, A. P. J. (1999)
    Regional assessment of soil erosion using the
    distributed model SEMMED and remotely sensed
    data. Catena, 37, 291-308.
  • Gonzalez, P, (2001) Advances in desertification
    monitoring and drought early warning. In Global
    Environmental Forum, eds. Report of Ad Hoc Panel
    Meeting on Early Warning System, held in
    Yamanashi, Japan, June 4-8. 143-161.
  • Hostert, P. (2001) Remote sensing driven early
    warning system for desertification and land
    degradation, results and conclusions from
    DeMon-II an integrated approach to assess and
    monitor desertification processes in the
    Mediterranean basin. In Global Environmental
    Forum, eds. Report of Ad Hoc Panel Meeting on
    Early Warning System, held in Yamanashi, Japan,
    June 4-8. 163-169.
  • Kar, A. and Takeuchi, K. (2001) Towards an early
    warning system for desertification. . In Global
    Environmental Forum, eds. Report of Ad Hoc Panel
    Meeting on Early Warning System, held in
    Yamanashi, Japan, June 4-8. 163-169.
  • Lacaze, B., Caselles, V., Coll, C., Hill, J.,
    Hoff, C., de Jong, S., Mehl, W., Negendank, J. F.
    W., Riezebos, H., Rubio, E., Sommer, S., Filho,
    J. T. and Valor, E. (1996) DeMon Integrated
    Approaches to Desertification Mapping and
    Monitoring in the Mediterranean Basin. Final
    Report of the Demon-1 Project. ECSC-EC-EAEC,
    Brussels/ Luxembourg, 165pp.
  • Oldeman, L. R. and van Lynden, G. W. J. (1998)
    Revisiting the Glasod Methodology. In Lal, R.,
    Blum, W. H., Valentine, C. and Stewart, B. A.
    eds., Methods for Assessment of Soil Degradation.
    CRC Press, Boca Raton/ London/ New York/
    Washington D. C., 432-440.
  • Reid, W., Ash, N., Benett, E., Kumar, P., Lee,
    M., Lucas, N., Simons, H., Thompson, V. and Zurek
    M. (2002) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
    Methods. Obtained from http//www.millenniumassess

Cited National Action Programmes and National
  • India, 2001, National Action Programme to Combat
    Desertification. Vol.1, Status of
    Desertification. 294pp.
  • Kenya, 2002, National Action Programme A
    Framework for Combating Desertification in Kenya.
  • The Gambia, 1999, National Report on the
    Implementation of the United Nations Convention
    to Combat Desertification. 45pp.
  • The Gambia, 2000, National Action Programme to
    Combat Desertification. 85pp.
  • The Gambia, 2001, 2nd National Report on the
    Implementation of the United Nations Convention
    to Combat Desertification. 27pp.
  • Uzbekistan, 1999, National Action Programme to
    Combat Desertification in Republic of Uzbekistan.

Item 1.2 To Help in Providing an Updated
World Atlas of Desertification(First Progress
  • Prof. Dr. Laszlo Vermes
  • Szent Istvan University, Faculty of Horticultural
  • Hungary

1. Aim of the task
  • determined at the Hamburg meeting of GoE as
  • review the current status of mapping and the
    Atlas itself
  • determine the criteria on what basis the new
    Atlas can be accomplished
  • prepare recommendations for the terms of
    reference and development of mapping the
    vulnerability/sensitivity of areas by drought and

2. Short overview on the World Atlas of
  • 2.1 Background
  • First World Map of Desertification 1977, by
    FAO/UNESCO/WMO, UN Conference on Desertification,
    Nairobi, Kenya
  • 1987 FAO/UNEP/UNESCO provisional methodology
    for the assessment and mapping of desertification
  • 1987-1990 first global assessment of
    human-induced soil degradation GLASOD

2.1 Background (cont.)
  • 1992 First edition of the World Atlas of
    Desertification UNCED, Rio de J., Brazil
  • 1995 UNCCD signed in Paris, France
  • 1997 Second and present edition of the World
    Atlas of Desertification UNEP, compiled by Nick
    Middleton and David Thomas Preface was written
    by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of

2.2 Objectives
  • The objective or aim of the Atlas was not defined
    clearly in the publication
  • In the Preface designed for those working on
    desertification at the global, regional and
    national levels
  • and it is intended to facilitate the work of
    governments at the Conference of the Parties of
    UNCCD, and it is aimed to a wider audience
  • the global problem of desertification maybe
    this is the key to understand the objective

2.3 Content
  • Introduction provides the background and
    information needed to explain the technical basis
    of the Atlas
  • Section 1 presents the best available global
    assessment of desertification and related issues.
    It is devoted to the relationships between
    climatic factors and desertification

2.3 Content (cont.)
  • Section 2 presents the higher resolution GLASOD
    survey of human-induced soil degradation in
    Africa provides examples on the complexities of
    the interrelationship between degradation causes
    and effects
  • Section 3 (totally new) incorporates a number of
    methodological developments, mainly deals with
    ASSOD assessment of Asia, where greater emphasis
    is given to generating assessment in country
    level rather than at regional

2.3 Content (cont.)
  • Section 4 (also new) highlights the
    interlinkages between desertification and other
    global environmental issues (soil salinization,
    climate change, carbon sequestration, biological
    diversity) and social dimensions (human
    population and migration, socio-economics) it
    contains also success stories in combating
    desertification (China, Australia, Sahel). A
    World Overview of Conservation Approaches and
    Technologies (WOCAT) is given in form of case

2.4 Boundaries, difficulties, critical
  • Database accurate and reliable data on the
    extent and severity of desertification and the
    rate of its progress, based on actual ground
    survey, are very scarce. The existing data are
    often controversial and open to doubts and
    criticism. Available data are uneven in scale
    and accuracy, therefore it is difficult to create
    an accurate map as well.

2.4 Boundaries (cont.)
  • Inconsistencies in the concept and the
    definitions used Basic definition is complex
    and simplifying at the same time, making
    practically an equal sign between desertification
    and human-induced land degradation in drylands
    investigations are narrowing down to the arid,
    semi-arid and dry sub-humid climatic zones.

2.4 Boundaries (cont.)
  • Global approach to the problem adequate
    assessment and consequent plans to counteract the
    problem can only be usefully carried out at the
    local scaleAdvantage is that it allows
    desertification to be evaluated relative to other
    global environmental issues, like global warming,
    climatic change, biological diversity, etc.

2.4 Boundaries (cont.)
  • It was useful to develop a world-wide picture to
    identify hotspots at the continental, national
    and local scales for this reason the Atlas was
    organized to start from a global perspective
    (Sections 2 and 3), and tried to give some
    examples in greater detail and in smaller
    scales specific issues of particular importance
    (Section 4).

2.4 Boundaries (cont.)
  • The scale itself can be a source of mistake by
    the very high scale of a global map a map-unit
    with an overall high degradation/desertification
    severity may be characterized as such because
    moderate degradation/desertification process
    occur in a relatively large part of the unit, and
    vice versa that means an entire polygon is
    coloured on the map according to a particular
    characteristic does not necessarily show that all
    the land within this unit possesses that

2.4 Boundaries (cont.)
  • The Atlas does not deal with drought problems,
    however this phenomenon affects great areas all
    over the world, and can be a preceding factor to
    desertification not only in the so-called
    susceptible drylands.Assessment and mapping of
    drought events and sensitivity can be made
    effectively only in local or regional scale.

3. Needs for mapping
  • 3.1 Needs for mapping the spatial distribution of
    desertificationa) providing general information
    to the public
  • b) general information for research
  • c) general information for education purposes
  • d) some basic (general) information for
  • makers and organizers interested in
  • preparedness and mitigation actions

3. Needs for mapping (cont.)
  • Mapping should be made in different scales,
    according to real objective of the evaluation
    possibilities, the available databases and the
    concrete aims of the use of the map.
  • The maps and evaluations drawn on global data and
    assessment should be broken down to regional
    and/or local scales showing a more accurate
    distribution of the characteristics.

3. Needs for mapping (cont.)
  • 3.2 Needs for mapping the spatial distribution
    of drought sensitive areasa) detailed and site
    specific information for decision makers and
  • b) detailed information to local people
    effected by drought impacts
  • c) specified information for research
    activities on drought mitigation
  • d) specified information for education

3. Needs for mapping (cont.)
  • Analyses and mapping have to be made first in
    smaller (local or national) scale, taking into
    consideration the concrete aim of the mapping,
    the available databases, and using local, but
    generalized and internationally comparable
    indicators, and on the basis of these local maps
    should be the regional or global map compiled as
    a second step.

4. Main aspects of a more detailed and complex
mapping methodology
  • The following aspects should be combineda)
    climatic (hydro-meteorological) data and indexes
    are of basic importance, but not enough for the
    expression and characterization of the processes
    of a certain area

4. Main aspects (cont.)
  • b) other ecological aspects should be taken
  • into consideration, like- hydrological
    (groundwater and surface
  • water flow) conditions
  • - soil and topography of the area
  • - crop cover (vegetation) conditions
  • - relating trends of global changes

4. Main aspects (cont.)
  • c) other human/social facts should be taken into
    account, like - land use
  • - population density
  • - economical evaluations
  • Therefore a new approach, new methodology and new
    databases are necessary for a better mapping

5. Project proposal for the implementation of
the new mapping concept
  • January 2003 a group of European (mainly CEE)
    countries decided to create a consortium and to
    make a project proposal to EU FP6 on the
    Development of the European Drought Sensitivity
    Map as a first step and a pilot study for the
    implementation of the new mapping concept. (19
    participants including FAO and WMO)

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • Main aim of the proposed research work is to
    elaborate the common methodology and with the
    help of that construct and draw the drought
    sensitivity map in those countries who are ready
    to work together in the frame of a specially
    targeted research project.
  • The aim of the consortium is to solve the
    expression of the drought sensitivity of an area
    as complex as possible and to find out the method
    of its illustration on a map.

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • Drought severity shows the strength or intensity
    of a special drought event through the deviation
    of the moisture condition (supply) from the mean
    value at a specific location, using some of the
    meteorological or hydro-meteorological indexes
    for numerical expression of water scarcity.

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • Drought sensitivity means the distribution of
    the spatial occurrence/appearance of differently
    severe droughts in an area or region, based not
    only on the long-term data of relevant
    hydro-meteorological indexes, but including
    among others also information of soil
    characteristics and plant tolerance. The areal
    distribution of drought severity is changing year
    by year, but drought sensitivity remaining more

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • Drought vulnerability is expressing
    characteristics of population, activities, or the
    environment being susceptible to the effects of
    drought its degree depends on the environmental
    and social characteristics of the region and is
    measured by the ability to anticipate, cope with,
    resist and recover from drought.

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • In the first phase of the research work a
    scientifically based, clear and practically used
    mapping methodology will be developed. In the
    second phase each participating country has to
    start with the construction and drawing their own
    drought sensitivity maps, and these will be put
    together creating the European one.

5. Project proposal (cont.)
  • First benefit the maps are important tools in
    the hand of everybody who has some role in the
    drought mitigation processes
  • Second advantage is the resulted country maps
    can be combined, easily creating this way the
    drought sensitivity maps for the whole continent,
    and the methodology is ready for use in all
    interested countries

6. Summary and recommendations
  • The World Atlas of Desertification edited by
    UNEP, 1997, is an important and considerable
    trial to summarize global information on the
    process of desertification and land degradation
    in the drylands, to present an overview on these
    lands, and to draw attention of all people and
    governments in the world to the problems
    accompanying desertification.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • Because of the lack of accurate and reliable
    data, the lack of clear determination of aims and
    objectives, and because of the originally
    selected global approach, there are some
    limitations in the use of this Atlas, and there
    is a definite need for revising and further
    development of it. Taking into account the
    overall criticism of the existing Atlas, and also
    the suggestions of experts in the field of
    assessment and mapping of drought and
    desertification, the followings should be
    discussed and recognized.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • a) As a first step it is recommended to identify
    the target audience for the Atlas and to
    elaborate the mechanism of dissemination.
    Accessibility is an important consideration.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • b) The objectives of compilation and constructing
    a new edition of the World Atlas have to be
    determined clearly before the revision work will
    start. The well settled aim of the Atlas will
    influence or even determine the approach, the
    scale, the method of construction, and result in
    a better defined and more effectively used

6. Summary (cont.)
  • c) A new and separate methodology of assessment
    and illustration of drought and desertification
    should be worked out, based on more accurate
    local databases and national scale of evaluation,
    and using a bottom-up type of construction.
  • d) Complexity of the topic and influences of many
    aspects should be taken into consideration,
    therefore it is necessary to find out a method
    for the combination of the different factors and
    data on an areal basis.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • e) A revision and possibly new determination of
    basic terms and concepts is urgent, especially
    making distinction between drought and
    desertification, and a set of indicators
    (indexes, benchmarks) should be selected in both
    cases with the help of which the evaluation and
    expression of the main processes or results could
    be made.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • f) One of the main drawback of the existing World
    Atlas is that paper cartography in general is
    quite static and becomes quickly obsolete,
    therefore it is strongly recommended to use a
    more GIS-based approach. According to the opinion
    of different experts the role of GIS should be
    central for mapping from several practical and
    data management points of view.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • g) For creating a new concept and establishing a
    new methodology of assessment and mapping of
    desertification and drought sensitivity, a
    smaller ad hoc team should be organized in the
    frame of the GoE with the participation of the
    coordinators of the tasks 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5,
    1.6, 1.8 and 1.9. This ad hoc team has to prepare
    a second progress report answering all the
    problems mentioned above, and work out a proposal
    for the further development of the Atlas.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • Concrete work plan of the ad hoc team could be
    elaborated during the second meeting of GoE in
  • h) Altogether 30 expert months are needed as a
    basis for financing the work of the ad-hoc team.

6. Summary (cont.)
  • i) The Group of Experts supports the efforts of
    the European countries to construct and draw the
    European drought sensitivity map, and promotes
    the acceptance of the project proposal having
    been prepared on this topic and sent to the
    European Union FP6 Research and Development

6. Summary (cont.)
  • ProposalMain reasons for the establishment of
    the proposed ad hoc team are as follows
  • For the assessment and also for mapping of
    desertification and drought we should have
  • -- final selected indicators (indexes) and/or
    benchmarks for numerical expression of severity
    or sensitivity ? Task 1.6 ? Ms. Elena Abraham

6. Summary (cont.)
  • -- clearly determined terms (concepts) related
    to desertification and drought ? Task 1.4 ?
  • Dr. Ryszard Debiczki
  • -- summarized review criteria, including the
    structure and methodology of assessment ? Task
    1.1 ? Dr. Kazuhiko Takeuchi
  • -- to take into account the short- and
    long-term early warning systems used ? Task
    1.8/1.9 ?
  • Dr. Victor Castillo Sanchez

6. Summary (cont.)
  • -- it is also necessary to take into
    consideration the mechanism for an interactive
    and thematic data/metadata network ? Task 1.5 ?
  • Dr. Maurizio Sciortino
  • Aim (and name) of the ad hoc team will be
    Developing the preparatory suggestions for the
    revision of the World Atlas of Desertification
    and for elaboration of a new one

6. Summary (cont.)
  • For the assessment and mapping methodology
    important points to be discussed, clarified,
    developed and making decision on them are as
  • (1) objectives
  • (2) scales (spatial and temporal)
  • (3) basic indexes used (hydrometeorological)

6. Summary (cont.)
  • (4) other aspects to be involved and form(s) of
  • their expression and involvement
  • (5) common (unified) methodology for
  • evaluation and mapping
  • (6) clear determination of terms (definitions),
  • at least of basic importance
  • (7) making institutional connection to LADA
  • and MA projects, and to others

Appendix 1 Definitions
  • Desertification is land degradation in arid,
    semiarid and dry subhumid areas resulting from
    various factors, including climatic variations
    and human activities (UNCED, Rio, 1992 included
    in UNCCD, 1995)The basic indicator of
    desertification in the Atlas is human-induced
    soil degradation. It is often very difficult to
    separate natural processes of land degradation
    from those resulting from human activities.

Appendix 1 Definitions (cont.)
  • Land in this context includes soil and local
    water resources, land surface and vegetation,
    including crops.
  • Degradation implies reduction of resource
    potential by one or a combination of processes
    acting on the land.
  • Arid, semiarid and dry subhumid climatic zones
    are collectively referred as the susceptible
    drylands. Hyperarid zones, the true deserts, are
    not considered as susceptible drylands.

Appendix 1 Definitions (cont.)
  • Drought is not defined in the Atlas. According to
    other definitions (ICID, 1998) drought is a
    deficiency in precipitation from expected or
    normal that when extended over a season or
    longer period of time is insufficient to meet
    demands. This may result in economic, social, and
    environmental impacts. It should be considered as
    a recurrent feature of climate.

Appendix 1 Definitions (cont.)
  • Drought is a relative, rather than absolute
    condition that should be defined for each region
    and for each group of living organisms (not only
    plants). Each drought differs in intensity,
    duration, and spatial extent. From agricultural
    points of view drought is the permanent and
    considerably high water shortage of a given plant
    stand on a given agricultural and/or forest area,
    which limits the life-processes of the plants to
    a great extent. Drought can not be interpreted
    without plants, because different plants have
    different answers to the same degree of dryness
    or water scarcity.

Item 1.3To assist in providing a science plan
for land degradation research
  • Prof. Dr. Olatunji Folorunso
  • Department of Soil Science
  • Faculty of Agriculture, University of Maiduguri,

Prof.Dr. Olatunji A. Folorunso Coordinator Prof.D
r. Laszlo Vermes Member Prof.Dr. Lixian Wang
  • Review and prioritize current research
    activities (2003)
  • Identify and prioritize new research needs
  • Identify sponsor for international and regional
  • programmes (2005)
  • Draw up comprehensive report (2006)

RESEARCH (A) Review and Prioritization of Current
Land Degradation Research Activities REGION
RESEARCH (B) Identification and Prioritization of
New Research Needs REGION.. COUN
RESEARCH (A) Review and Prioritization of Current
Land Degradation Research Activities REGIONAfri
ca.. COUNTRYNigeria..
Table (cont.)
RESEARCH (A) Review and Prioritization of Current
Land Degradation Research Activities REGION
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II. Karcag Research Institute of the Debrecen
University, Hungary II/1. A Elaboration of
complex soil protection system to stop the
accelerated degradation and wind erosion of the
soils of the Great Hungarian Plain B - Karcag
Research Institute of the Debrecen University,
Karcag - Debrecen University, Faculty of
Sciences, Debrecen - Forestry Research
Institute, Puspokladany C see title D 1991 E
1993 F Ministry of Agriculture, Hungary G -
Determination of physical and chemical parameters
of soil s influencing their susceptibility to
wind erosion Determination of susceptibility of
different soil types to wind erosion Elaboration
of soil reclamation method using industrial
by-products to improve soil structure Elaboration
of the afforestation plan of Hajdu-Bihar
County H - II/2. A Determination of the
susceptibility of different soil types to
crusting B Karcag Research Institute of the
Debrecen University, Karcag C see title D
1998 E 1998 F Ministry of Agriculture,
Hungary G Elaboration of a process based on
quantified parameters to test different soil
reclamation methods aiming the improvement of the
physical properties of the soil H - II/3. A
Scientific establishment of moderation of drought
damages in the Great Hungarian Plain revealing
water regime features of field ecosystems B
Karcag Research Institute of the Debrecen
University, Karcag C see title D 1997 E
2000 F National Science and Research Fund
(OTKA) G - Quantification of the effects of
different soil cultivation operations on water-
and temperature regime of the soil Elaboration of
the technological elements of moisture preventing
soil cultivation
II/4. A Modernization of parametrisation systems
promoting soil utilization and reclamation
decisions for rational use of salt affected
soils B - Karcag Research Institute of the
Debrecen University, Karcag - RISSAC,
Budapest C see title D 1997 E 2000 F Ministry
of Agriculture, Hungary G - Prediction of
dynamics of soil parameters determining soil
fertility of salt affected soils taking the
expectable climatic tendencies into
consideration Verification of a climate-soil-soil
fertility model for salt affected
soils Determination of the necessary reclamation
measures for different utilization alternatives
of salt affected soils H - II/5. A
Examination of less fertile lands loaded with
wastewaters of communal origin B - Karcag
Research Institute of the Debrecen University,
Karcag RISSAC, Budapest C Study the
environmental effects of deep-furrow irrigation
with wastewaters D 1996 E 2001 F Ministry of
Agriculture, Hungary G New data were gained
concerning the loadibility of less fertile
ploughland III. Szent Istvan University,
Godollo, Hungary III/1. A Connections between
irrigation and salt regime of soils in the Great
Hungarian Plain B Department of Soil Science and
Agro-chemistry of the Godollo University C Study
the changes in salt regime of soils due to
irrigation D 1960 E 1969 F Ministry of
Agriculture, Hungary G Determination of salt
accumulation in soils due to intensive irrigation
and by irrigation water with different quality H
III/2. A Wind erosion and its damages in
Hungary B Department of Water Management and
Land Reclamation of the Godollo University C
Study the effects of wind erosion on different
soils of Hungary D 1981 E 1984 F Ministry of
Agriculture, Hungary G Determination of the wind
erosion sensitive areas in the country H
- III/3. A Research for establishing
protection against erosion B Department of
Landscape Ecology of the Godollo University C
Study the land use type on soil erosion D
1996 E 1997 F Ministry of Agriculture,
Hungary G Determination of harmful effects of
arable land and vineyards on erosion potential of
soils H - III/4. A Examining the K-factor of
the Wischmeier-Smith USLE model with GIS based in
situ research B Department of Landscape Ecology
of the Godollo University C Applicability of
soil erodibility factor D 1998 E 2001 F
Ministry of Agriculture G K-factor must be
examined and determined on the field before using
the model H - III/5. A Examining soils
susceptibility to erosion B Department of
Landscape Ecology of the Godollo University C
Examination of soil e