Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Desertification in Spain: A Sound Diagnosis Unfollowed by Solutions

Version 1 : Received: 17 January 2022 / Approved: 20 January 2022 / Online: 20 January 2022 (14:36:32 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Martínez-Valderrama, J.; del Barrio, G.; Sanjuán, M.E.; Guirado, E.; Maestre, F.T. Desertification in Spain: A Sound Diagnosis without Solutions and New Scenarios. Land 2022, 11, 272. Martínez-Valderrama, J.; del Barrio, G.; Sanjuán, M.E.; Guirado, E.; Maestre, F.T. Desertification in Spain: A Sound Diagnosis without Solutions and New Scenarios. Land 2022, 11, 272.

Journal reference: Land 2022, 11, 272
DOI: 10.3390/land11020272

Abstract

The latest World Atlas of Desertification represents a turning point in the diagnosis of desertification. While it forgoes desertification mapping due to the intrinsic complexity of the phenomenon and the impossibility of measuring it using a single indicator, it introduces the Convergence of Evidence paradigm, which identifies socioeconomic and biophysical variables whose behavior allows pointing out those areas prone to desertification. The Spanish National Action Program Against Desertification (PAND), back to 2008, already implemented a similar approach to identify five “desertification landscapes” within Spain using both socio-economic and climatic information. The PAND was not only pioneering but also, unfortunately, accurate. Desertification in Spain has continued to worsen and the first two decades of the 21st century have consolidated an agri-food model whose dynamics have exacerbated the desertification processes identified in the PAND. Despite its scientific value, the PAND lacked a proper action plan and was completely detached from the diagnosis. As a result the diagnosis it provided was not followed by effective actions to halt desertification in Spain. The Spanish Government's recent declaration of climate and environmental emergency requires a new strategy to combat desertification. This commitment is an excellent opportunity to update the diagnosis of the situation and, more crucially, to unify the different desertification sectoral policies and actions under a single front. We provide here elements for a roadmap to be designed around the pressures, impacts, and drivers that define today's Spanish desertification landscapes to manage them effectively and avoid their further degradation.

Keywords

combat desertification; diagnosis; socioeconomic factors; convergence of evidence; agriculture

Subject

EARTH SCIENCES, Environmental Sciences

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