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Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 951–970 | Cite as

Evaluation and Selection of Indicators for Land Degradation and Desertification Monitoring: Methodological Approach

  • C. Kosmas
  • Or. Kairis
  • Ch. Karavitis
  • C. Ritsema
  • L. Salvati
  • S. Acikalin
  • M. Alcalá
  • P. Alfama
  • J. Atlhopheng
  • J. Barrera
  • A. Belgacem
  • A. Solé-Benet
  • J. Brito
  • M. Chaker
  • R. Chanda
  • C. Coelho
  • M. Darkoh
  • I. Diamantis
  • O. Ermolaeva
  • V. Fassouli
  • W. Fei
  • J. Feng
  • F. Fernandez
  • A. Ferreira
  • C. Gokceoglu
  • D. Gonzalez
  • H. Gungor
  • R. Hessel
  • J. Juying
  • H. Khatteli
  • N. Khitrov
  • A. Kounalaki
  • A. Laouina
  • P. Lollino
  • M. Lopes
  • L. Magole
  • L. Medina
  • M. Mendoza
  • P. Morais
  • K. Mulale
  • F. Ocakoglu
  • M. Ouessar
  • C. Ovalle
  • C. Perez
  • J. Perkins
  • F. Pliakas
  • M. Polemio
  • A. Pozo
  • C. Prat
  • Y. Qinke
  • A. Ramos
  • J. Ramos
  • J. Riquelme
  • V. Romanenkov
  • L. Rui
  • F. Santaloia
  • R. Sebego
  • M. Sghaier
  • N. Silva
  • M. Sizemskaya
  • J. Soares
  • H. Sonmez
  • H. Taamallah
  • L. Tezcan
  • D. Torri
  • F. Ungaro
  • S. Valente
  • J. de Vente
  • E. Zagal
  • A. Zeiliguer
  • W. Zhonging
  • A. Ziogas
Article

Abstract

An approach to derive relationships for defining land degradation and desertification risk and developing appropriate tools for assessing the effectiveness of the various land management practices using indicators is presented in the present paper. In order to investigate which indicators are most effective in assessing the level of desertification risk, a total of 70 candidate indicators was selected providing information for the biophysical environment, socio-economic conditions, and land management characteristics. The indicators were defined in 1,672 field sites located in 17 study areas in the Mediterranean region, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Based on an existing geo-referenced database, classes were designated for each indicator and a sensitivity score to desertification was assigned to each class based on existing research. The obtained data were analyzed for the various processes of land degradation at farm level. The derived methodology was assessed using independent indicators, such as the measured soil erosion rate, and the organic matter content of the soil. Based on regression analyses, the collected indicator set can be reduced to a number of effective indicators ranging from 8 to 17 in the various processes of land degradation. Among the most important indicators identified as affecting land degradation and desertification risk were rain seasonality, slope gradient, plant cover, rate of land abandonment, land-use intensity, and the level of policy implementation.

Keywords

Indicators Land degradation Desertification risk 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research described in this paper was conducted within the framework of the EC-DG RTD, 6th Framework Research Programme (sub-priority 1.1.6.3), Research on Desertification, project DESIRE (037046): Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land—a global approach for local solutions. The financial support by the European Commission is gratefully acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Kosmas
    • 1
  • Or. Kairis
    • 1
  • Ch. Karavitis
    • 1
  • C. Ritsema
    • 16
  • L. Salvati
    • 17
  • S. Acikalin
    • 12
  • M. Alcalá
    • 2
  • P. Alfama
    • 3
  • J. Atlhopheng
    • 4
  • J. Barrera
    • 5
  • A. Belgacem
    • 6
  • A. Solé-Benet
    • 7
  • J. Brito
    • 3
  • M. Chaker
    • 8
  • R. Chanda
    • 4
  • C. Coelho
    • 9
  • M. Darkoh
    • 4
  • I. Diamantis
    • 10
  • O. Ermolaeva
    • 11
  • V. Fassouli
    • 1
  • W. Fei
    • 13
  • J. Feng
    • 13
  • F. Fernandez
    • 5
  • A. Ferreira
    • 14
  • C. Gokceoglu
    • 12
  • D. Gonzalez
    • 2
  • H. Gungor
    • 12
  • R. Hessel
    • 16
  • J. Juying
    • 13
  • H. Khatteli
    • 6
  • N. Khitrov
    • 11
  • A. Kounalaki
    • 1
  • A. Laouina
    • 8
  • P. Lollino
    • 15
  • M. Lopes
    • 14
  • L. Magole
    • 4
  • L. Medina
    • 2
  • M. Mendoza
    • 2
  • P. Morais
    • 14
  • K. Mulale
    • 4
  • F. Ocakoglu
    • 12
  • M. Ouessar
    • 6
  • C. Ovalle
    • 5
  • C. Perez
    • 5
  • J. Perkins
    • 4
  • F. Pliakas
    • 10
  • M. Polemio
    • 15
  • A. Pozo
    • 5
  • C. Prat
    • 2
  • Y. Qinke
    • 13
  • A. Ramos
    • 2
  • J. Ramos
    • 2
  • J. Riquelme
    • 5
  • V. Romanenkov
    • 11
  • L. Rui
    • 13
  • F. Santaloia
    • 15
  • R. Sebego
    • 4
  • M. Sghaier
    • 6
  • N. Silva
    • 3
  • M. Sizemskaya
    • 11
  • J. Soares
    • 9
  • H. Sonmez
    • 12
  • H. Taamallah
    • 6
  • L. Tezcan
    • 12
  • D. Torri
    • 15
  • F. Ungaro
    • 15
  • S. Valente
    • 9
  • J. de Vente
    • 7
  • E. Zagal
    • 5
  • A. Zeiliguer
    • 11
  • W. Zhonging
    • 13
  • A. Ziogas
    • 10
  1. 1.Laboratory of SoilsAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Institut de Recherche pour le DéveloppementMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.National Institute for Agriculture Research and DevelopmentPraiaCape Verde
  4. 4.University of BotswanaFrancistownBotswana
  5. 5.Instituto de Investigaciones AgropecuariasSantiagoChile
  6. 6.Institut Des Regions AridesMedinineTunisia
  7. 7.Estacion Experimental de Zonas Áridas (EEZA-CSIC)La Cañada de San UrbanoSpain
  8. 8.Chair UNESCO-GNUniversity of Mohamed VRabatMorocco
  9. 9.University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  10. 10.Democritus University of ThraceKomotiniGreece
  11. 11.Moscow State University of Environmental EngineeringMoscowRussia
  12. 12.Eskisehir Osmangazi UniversityEskisehirTurkey
  13. 13.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationYanglingChina
  14. 14.Escola Superior Agraria de GoisCoimbraPortugal
  15. 15.Research Institute for Hydrogeological ProtectionFirenzeItaly
  16. 16.AlterraWageningenThe Netherlands
  17. 17.Italian National Council for Agricultural ResearchRomeItaly

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