Food Security

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 113–126 | Cite as

Reviewing the links between desertification and food insecurity: from parallel challenges to synergistic solutions



The challenges of desertification and food insecurity share considerable common ground, not only in terms of their myriad biophysical, political and socioeconomic drivers and links to the productivity of the land and soil, but also in the discourses and approaches that have informed their management. This paper reviews the elements common to both challenges and argues that due to their cross-cutting nature and the parallel pathways along which each issue has evolved, there is a strong case to be made for taking a synergistic approach towards the development of future solutions. In particular, it is argued that livelihoods and vulnerability approaches could be used as a common platform to inform more integrated interventions. This could enable multiple benefits to be harnessed for both challenges.


Food security Desertification Poverty Malthusian discourse Livelihoods Vulnerability 



I would like to say thank you to Evan Fraser (University of Leeds), who provided some very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper; as did the two anonymous reviewers and editor-in-chief who I would also like to thank for their thoughts and suggestions.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of Leeds Sustainability Research InstituteLeedsUK

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