Land Degradation | 1st Edition
Creation and Destruction
AUTHOR: Lewis, Laurence A.
PUBLISHER: Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, John
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Land degradation is not a new phenomenon. For at least 100,000 years a principal activity of human culture has been to adjust and to modify the landscape in order to provide food, shelter and warmth. Degradation probably began in earnest with the human control of fire, but the advances in technology and the relentless increase in human population of the last century have magnified both the degree of the problem and the area of the Earth that it affects. This book examines the history and current state of land degradation through an analysis of the linkages between natural and human systems and does so in a wide range of environmental, economic and historical settings.
The authors characterize land degradation as either unintentional and unforecast or intentional and creative, where zones have been deliberately sacrificed in order to achieve greater total productivity in the meeting of social needs. This distinction provides an important basis for analysing the economic and cultural causes of degradation. To this the authors add the further dimension of degradation that takes place through processes that are themselves either wholly or partly natural. The failure to recognise the complex causes of land degradation is, they argue, one of the main reasons why it has been so difficult to control.
The book is written in a clear, non-technical and accessible style, and detailed case studies are presented from both the developed and the developing world. This is a book which will be of central interest to students of environmental science and environmental management.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2/27/1995