An international research network for testing the Dahlem Desertification Paradigm (DDP)

TitleAn international research network for testing the Dahlem Desertification Paradigm (DDP)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsReynolds J.F., Ayarza M., Herrick JE, Huber-Sannwald E., Lambin E., Smith D.M.Stafford
Conference NameGlobal Environmental Change: Regional Challenges. An Earth System Science Partnership, Open Science Conference
Date PublishedNovember 9-12, 2
Conference LocationBeijing, China
ARIS Log Number198376
Keywordsclimate, global desertification, natural
AbstractHistorically, debates associated with global desertification have focused on the underlying causes of land degradation; the extent to which changes are natural (e.g., climate-driven) vs. anthropogenic (e.g., over-grazing); ‘grass-roots’ abatement efforts vs. scientific ones; the amount of land affected or ‘at risk’; and whether or not desertification is reversible. Since stakeholders tend to employ disciplinary arguments in the debate, the end product is confusion and disagreement. Hence, there is an urgent need for new thinking beyond regional and disciplinary concerns. We argue that when desertification is viewed in the context of coupled human environmental systems, many of the scientific, political and social issues of desertification seem tractable. We have developed a new synthetic framework: the Dahlem Desertification Paradigm (DDP), which consists of 9 assertions and yields testable hypotheses to move the debate forward. We are applying the DDP to diverse ecosystems throughout the world via ARIDnet (assessment, research, and integration of desertification research network), an international initiative that emphasizes the importance of interdependencies of natural and human systems. The general objectives of ARIDnet are to foster international cooperation and exchange of ideas about desertification as summarized in the DDP; to open communication channels to foster more practical, field-level interactions with stakeholders in sustainable land management; and to use the concepts, experiences, and applications developed by participants to support on-going international discussions on the principles, criteria, and policies related to global desertification, especially the Convention to Combat Desertification.