A case study of desertification linking biophysical and socioeconomic aspects fo water use in the small Mexican village of Amapola

TitleA case study of desertification linking biophysical and socioeconomic aspects fo water use in the small Mexican village of Amapola
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsHuber-Sannwald E., Reynolds J.F., Herrick JE, Maestre F.T.
Conference NameGlobal Environmental Change: Regional Challenges. An Earth System Science Partnership, Open Science Conference
Date PublishedNovember 9-12, 2
Conference LocationBeijing, China
ARIS Log Number198377
Keywordsdesertification
AbstractDesertification is a major global environmental problem of human societies in drylands and Mexico is one of the most severely affected countries in the Americas. An assessment of how hydrological, ecological, meteorological and socioeconomic processes simultaneously affect, and are affected by, land degradation is one of the most challenging issues in global change research. In June 2004, the ARIDnet network convened an interdisciplinary workshop in Mexico to apply a new conceptual framework – the Dahlem Desertification Paradigm (DDP) – to La Amapola, a small rural community in the Central Plateau of Mexico. The DDP focuses on the interrelationships within coupled human-environment systems that cause desertification. We provide an overview of land degradation issues in La Amapola and highlight links between the hydrological cycle and desertification by considering the interacting roles of biophysical and socioeconomic factors. We present a conceptual model emphasizing linkages between biophysical and socioeconomic factors in La Amapola in the context of hydrology and land degradation. We discuss our findings derived from the application of the major DDP assertions. Numerous cross-scale feedbacks, linkages, and causal pathways within and between the biophysical and human dimensions support the critical importance of water allocation in support of multiple and often competing ecosystem services. The livelihoods of rural communities in this region of Mexico, and the long-term sustainability of these landscapes, depend on the resolution of this issue and thus it is of central importance when evaluating desertification.