Land Degradation: Creation and Destruction (The Natural Environment)

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9780631179979: Land Degradation: Creation and Destruction (The Natural Environment)
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"Land Degradation" describes a decline in natural, biological productivity that is either irreversible or which may not be recovered for at least one human generation. The complex causes and forms of land degradation - as well as the means of managing and controlling it - form the subject of this book. Land degradation is not a new phenomenon. For at least 100,000 years a principal activity of human culture has been to adjust and to modify the landscape in order to provide food, shelter and warmth. Degradation probably began in earnest with the human control of fire, but the advances in technology and the relentless increase in human population of the last century have magnified both the degree of the problem and the area of the earth that it affects. This book examines the history and current state of land degradation through an analysis of the linkages between natural and human systems and does so in a wide range of environmental, economic and historical settings. The authors characterize land degradation as either unintentional and unforecast or intentional and creative, where zones have been deliberately sacrificed in order to achieve greater total productivity in the meeting of social needs. This distinction provides an important basis for analysing the economic and cultural causes of degradation. To this the authors add the further dimension of degradation that takes place through processes that are themselves either wholly or partly natural. The failure to recognise the complex causes of land degradation is, they argue, one of the main reasons why it has been so difficult to control. The book is written in a non-technical and accessible style, and detailed case studies are presented from both the developed and the developing world. This book which should be of central interest to students of environmental science and environmental management. The book is illustrated throughout with diagrams and photographs, is fully referenced, and contains sections of further reading arranged by subject.

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About the Author:

Douglas L. Johnson is professor of geography at Clark University.

Laurence A. Lewis is professor of geography at Clark University.

Review:

This volume...provides a readable and wide-ranging examination of land degradation....Full of brief but well-chosen examples. The authors...have written a text that is highly accessible to an interdisciplinary audience, explaining technical terms clearly and concisely. (Human Ecology)

Reflecting the combined expertise of the authors, the enhanced second edition of Land Degradation considers the impact of biophysical and social systems on land conditions and identifies principles that further the pursuit of sustainable land use. Accessible to an interdisciplinary audience—from students and land managers to researchers and policymakers—the book is an important contribution to sustainability science. (Klepeis, Peter)

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Johnson, Douglas L., Lewis, Laurence A.
Published by Blackwell Pub (1995)
ISBN 10: 0631179976 ISBN 13: 9780631179979
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Johnson, Douglas L., Lewis, Laurence A.
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Johnson, Douglas L., Lewis, Laurence A.
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