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European Union publishes World Atlas of Desertification

by Enric Terradellas last modified Jun 28, 2018 10:47 AM

The European Union has just publiashed the 3rd edition of the World Atlas of Desertification. The full version is available online at

Cherlet, M., Hutchinson, C., Reynolds, J., Hill, J., Sommer, S., von Maltitz, G. (Eds.), World Atlas of Desertification, Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018.

This third edition of the World Atlas of Desertification (WAD3) focuses on land degradation and global environmental change under five major subject headings:

Global Patterns of Human Domination. Highlighting the role of Homo sapiens as the major driving force of global environmental change;

Feeding a Growing Global Population. The ability to feed 10-12 billion humans by the end of the century is one of the great challenges facing humanity, creating enormous burdens on the land;

Limits to Sustainability. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. There are numerous obstacles that must be overcome to achieve this goal;

Convergence of Evidence. Many of the anthropogenic-induced environmental changes can be measured and their combined effects are indicative of the multiple stresses humans exert on the land. WAD3 draws on this complexity by adopting the concept that evidence or signals from multiple sources may “converge”, thus leading to the development of testable hypotheses and/or conclusions that are supported by data. Convergence of evidence maps replace the ‘maps of desertification’ of WAD1-WAD2; and

Solutions. Potential solutions to land degradation need to be identified and implemented within the context of local social, economic and political conditions

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