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Assessment of trends in desertification: a proposed methodology

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Title: Assessment of trends in desertification: a proposed methodology
Author: DeJong, Andrew Gordon
Department: School of Engineering
Advisor: McBean, Ed
Abstract: Desertification is most commonly accepted as "land degradation that occurs in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas as a result of climatic variations and human activities." Primary influences include over-grazing, over-cultivation, exploitation of water resources and climate. Such influences lead to reduced productive capacity of land and potentially, desert-like conditions. Once degraded, the recovery of these natural systems may take decades or centuries. This research focused on two environments as case studies, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Bangladesh. Forecasts of desertification were depicted by integrating observed meteorological data, general circulation model (GCM) projections and a range of physical, biological and social indicators to create maps that depict the regions at greatest risk of desertification. Using GIS software, a thematic layer was employed for each indicator and they were integrated to form a single map of desertification. This methodology was found capable for identifying areas at risk of desertification in Saskatchewan and Bangladesh.
Date: 2010
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