Browsing by Subject "LAND DEGRADATION"

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  • Gedefaw, Melakeneh G.; Geli, Hatim M. E.; Abera, Temesgen (2021)
    Rangelands provide significant socioeconomic and environmental benefits to humans. However, climate variability and anthropogenic drivers can negatively impact rangeland productivity. The main goal of this study was to investigate structural and productivity changes in rangeland ecosystems in New Mexico (NM), in the southwestern United States of America during the 1984-2015 period. This goal was achieved by applying the time series segmented residual trend analysis (TSS-RESTREND) method, using datasets of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies and precipitation from Parameter elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM), and developing an assessment framework. The results indicated that about 17.6% and 12.8% of NM experienced a decrease and an increase in productivity, respectively. More than half of the state (55.6%) had insignificant change productivity, 10.8% was classified as indeterminant, and 3.2% was considered as agriculture. A decrease in productivity was observed in 2.2%, 4.5%, and 1.7% of NM's grassland, shrubland, and ever green forest land cover classes, respectively. Significant decrease in productivity was observed in the northeastern and southeastern quadrants of NM while significant increase was observed in northwestern, southwestern, and a small portion of the southeastern quadrants. The timing of detected breakpoints coincided with some of NM's drought events as indicated by the self-calibrated Palmar Drought Severity Index as their number increased since 2000s following a similar increase in drought severity. Some breakpoints were concurrent with some fire events. The combination of these two types of disturbances can partly explain the emergence of breakpoints with degradation in productivity. Using the breakpoint assessment framework developed in this study, the observed degradation based on the TSS-RESTREND showed only 55% agreement with the Rangeland Productivity Monitoring Service (RPMS) data. There was an agreement between the TSS-RESTREND and RPMS on the occurrence of significant degradation in productivity over the grasslands and shrublands within the Arizona/NM Tablelands and in the Chihuahua Desert ecoregions, respectively. This assessment of NM's vegetation productivity is critical to support the decision-making process for rangeland management; address challenges related to the sustainability of forage supply and livestock production; conserve the biodiversity of rangelands ecosystems; and increase their resilience. Future analysis should consider the effects of rising temperatures and drought on rangeland degradation and productivity.
  • Abaker, Wafa; Berninger, Frank; Saiz, Gustavo; Pumpanen, Jukka; Starr, Michael Robert (2018)
    Background: Over the last decades sub-Saharan Africa has experienced severe land degradation and food security challenges linked to loss of soil fertility and soil organic matter (SOM), recurrent drought and increasing population. Although primary production in drylands is strictly limited by water availability, nutrient deficiencies, particularly of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), are also considered limiting factors for plant growth. It is known that SOM (often measured as soil organic carbon (SOC)) is a key indicator of soil fertility, therefore, management practices that increase SOM contents, such as increasing tree cover, can be expected to improve soil fertility. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of Acacia senegal (Senegalia senegal) trees on soil nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (K) in relation to SOC, the potential of A. senegal for N-2 fixation, and to identify possible N and P ecosystem limitations. Methods: Soil nutrient (total N, P, K and available P and exchangeable K) concentrations and stocks were determined for the 0-10,10-20,20-30 and 30-50 cm layers of A. senegal plantations of varying age (ranging from 7 to 24-years-old) and adjacent grasslands (reference) at two sites in semi-arid areas of Sudan. At both sites, three plots were established in each grassland and plantation. The potential of A. senegal for N-2 fixation in relation to plantations age was assessed using delta N-15 isotopic abundances and nutrient limitations assessed using C:N:P stoichiometry. Results: Soil concentrations of all studied nutrients were relatively low but were significantly and directly correlated to SOC concentrations. SOC and nutrient concentrations were the highest in the topsoil (0-10 cm) and increased with plantations age. Acacia foliage delta N-15 values were >6%o and varied little with plantations age. Soil C:N and C:P ratios did not differ between grassland and plantations and only 0-10 cm layer N:P ratios showed significant differences between grassland and plantations. Discussion: The results indicated that soil fertility in the Sahel region is strongly related to SOM contents and therefore highlighting the importance of trees in the landscape. The higher mineral nutrient concentrations in the topsoil of the plantations may be an indication of 'nutrient uplift' by the deeper roots. The high foliar delta N-15 values indicated that N(2 )fixation was not an important contributor to soil N contents in the plantations. The accretion of soil N cannot be explained by deposition but may be related to inputs of excreted N brought into the area annually by grazing and browsing animals. The soil C:N:P stoichiometry indicated that the plantations may be limited by P and the grasslands limited by N.
  • Yirdaw, Eshetu; Tigabu, Mulualem; Monge Monge, Adrian Antonio (2017)
    Land degradation is widespread and a serious threat affecting the livelihoods of 1.5 billion people worldwide of which one sixth or 250 million people reside in drylands. Globally, it is estimated that 10–20% of drylands are already degraded and about 12 million ha are degraded each year. Driven by unsustainable land use practices, adverse climatic conditions and population increase, land degradation has led to decline in provision of ecosystem services, food insecurity, social and political instability and reduction in the ecosystem’s resilience to natural climate variability. Several global initiatives have been launched to combat land degradation, including rehabilitation of degraded drylands. This review aimed at collating the current state-of-knowledge about rehabilitation of degraded drylands. It was found that the prospect of restoring degraded drylands is technically promising using a suite of passive (e.g. area exclosure, assisted natural regeneration, rotational grazing) and active (e.g. mixed-species planting, framework species, maximum diversity, and use of nurse tree) rehabilitation measures. Advances in soil reclamation using biological, chemical and physical measures have been made. Despite technical advances, the scale of rehabilitation intervention is small and lacks holistic approach. Development of process based models that forecast outcomes of the various rehabilitation activities will be useful tools for researchers and practitioners. The concept of forest landscape restoration approach, which operates at landscape-level, could also be adopted as the overarching framework for rehabilitation of degraded dryland ecosystems. The review identified a data gap in cost-benefit analysis of rehabilitation interventions. However, the cost of rehabilitation and sustainable management of drylands is opined to be lower than the losses that accrue from inaction, depending on the degree of degradation. Thus, local communities’ participation, incorporation of traditional ecological knowledge, clear division of tasks and benefits, strengthening local institutions are crucial not only for cost-sharing, but also for the long-term success of rehabilitation activities.