Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Land Degradation

  • Matija Zorn
  • Blaž Komac
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_207

Definition

Land degradation is a natural or human-induced process (Figure 1) that negatively affects the land to function effectively within an environmental system and can be defined as a process of degrading land from a former state. Land degradation is closely related to sensitivity, resilience, and carrying capacity of land, as well as to vulnerability of people living on and from these lands. It may be defined as the loss of utility or potential utility, or reduction, loss, or change of features or organisms which cannot be replaced (Barrow, 1991). A pure anthropogenic definition of land degradation is the loss of a sustained economic, cultural, or ecological function due to human activity in combination with natural processes (Bush, 2006).
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Barrow, C. J., 1991. Land Degradation: Development and Breakdown of Terrestrial Environments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Blaike, P., and Brookfield, H., 1987. Land Degradation and Society. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  3. Bush, G., 2006. Land degradation. In Geist, H. (ed.), Our Earth’s Changing Land: An Encyclopedia of Land-use and Land-cover Change. Westport: Greenwood Press, Vol. 2, p. 399.Google Scholar
  4. Daily, G. C., 1995. Restoring value to the world’s degraded lands. Science, 269, 350–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Diamond, J. M., 2006. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  6. Dregne, H. E., and Chou, N. T., 1994. Global desertification dimensions and costs. In Dregne, H. E. (ed.), Degradation and Restoration of Arid Lands. Lubbock: Texas Technical University, pp. 249–281.Google Scholar
  7. Eswaran, H., and Dumanski, J., 1994. Land degradation and sustainable agriculture: a global perspective. In Proceedings of the 8th International Soil Conservation Organization Conference. New Delhi: Indian Association of Soil and Water Conservationists, Vol. 1, pp. 208–226.Google Scholar
  8. Eswaran, H., Lal, R., and Reich, P. F., 2001. Land degradation: an overview. In Bridges, E. M., Hannam, I. D., Oldeman, L. R., Pening de Vries, F. W. T., Scherr, S. J., and Sompatpanit, S. (eds.), Responses to Land Degradation. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Land Degradation and Desertification. New Delhi: Oxford Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hudson, P. F., and Alcántara-Ayala, I., 2006. Ancient and modern perspectives on land degradation. Catena, 65, 102–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Imeson, A. C., and Emmer, I., 1992. Implications of climate change for land degradation in the Mediterranean. In Jeftic, L., Millman, J. D., and Sestin, G. (eds.), Climate Change and the Mediterranean: Environmental and Societal Impacts of Climate Change and Sea-level Rise in the Mediterranean Region. London: Arnold, Vol. 1, pp. 95–128.Google Scholar
  11. Johnson, D. L., and Lewis, L. A., 2007. Land Degradation: Creation and Destruction. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  12. Kertész, A., 2009. The global problem of land degradation and desertification. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 58(1), 19–31.Google Scholar
  13. Komac, B., and Zorn, M., 2007. Slope Processes and a Man. Ljubljana: ZRC Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Lal, R., 1998. Soil erosion impact on agronomic productivity and environment quality. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 17, 319–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Middleton, N., and Thomas, D., 1997. World Atlas of Desertification. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  16. Oldeman, L. R., 1994. The global extent of land degradation. In Greenland, D. J., and Szabolcs, I. (eds.), Land Resilience and Sustainable Land Use. Wallingford: CAB International, pp. 99–118.Google Scholar
  17. Poch, R. M., and Martínez-Cassanovas, J. A., 2006. Degradation. In Lal, R. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Soil Science. New York: Taylor & Francis, pp. 375–378.Google Scholar
  18. Sivakumar, M. V. K., and Ndiang’ui, N. (eds.), 2007. Climate and Land Degradation. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and ArtsAnton Melik Geographical InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia