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Current Desertification News and Events, Desertification News Articles.
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Arid Australian interior linked to landscape burning by ancient humans
Landscape burning by ancient hunters and gatherers may have triggered the failure of the annual Australian Monsoon some 12,000 years ago, resulting in the desertification of the country's interior that is evident today, according to a new study. (2005-01-25)

Desertification alters regional ecosystem climate interactions
Using advanced remote-sensing techniques from U-2 surveillance plane and field studies, scientists from Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology have for the first time determined large-scale interactions between ecosystems and the climate during the process of desertification. The study published in Global Change Biology January 2005, is a milestone both for new methods employed and for understanding what is happening as agricultural and grazing lands change into desert--a top environmental worry of United Nations. (2005-01-18)

High-flying observatory reveals land changing to desert
Using advanced remote-sensing techniques from a U-2 surveillance plane and field studies, scientists from the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology have for the first time determined large-scale interactions between ecosystems and the climate during the process of desertification. The study is a milestone both for the new methods employed and for understanding what is happening as agricultural and grazing lands change into desert--a top environmental worry of the United Nations. (2004-12-20)

Space sentinels track desertification on Mediterranean shores
The severe droughts and forest fires of recent years underline Mediterranean Europe's continuing vulnerability to desertification - 300 000 square kilometres of territory are currently affected, threatening the livelihoods of 16.5 million Europeans. A new satellite-based service is set to provide a continuous monitoring of regions most at risk. (2004-11-19)

Analysis fingers causes of desertification
A meta-analysis published in the September 2004 issue of BioScience concludes that desertification is driven by a limited group of core variables, most prominently climatic factors that lead to reduced rainfall, technological factors, institutional and policy factors, and economic factors. These factors, the analysis shows, drive proximate causes of desertification such as the expansion of cropland and overgrazing, the extension of infrastructure, increased aridity, and wood extraction. (2004-09-01)

The first domesticated donkey was born in Africa
An international team of researchers, with the participation of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) professor, Jordi Jordana, has published in Science magazine the results of their investigation into the origins of the domesticated donkey. The authors have discovered by using genetic analysis that the domesticated donkey originated in northeastern Africa approximately 5,000 years ago, quite probably due to the desertification of the Sahara. The conclusions of the study state that all domesticated donkeys come from two different lines from northeast Africa. (2004-06-28)

The Dragon Programme's architect - interview with José Achache
This last week saw the start of the Dragon Programme: a landmark Earth Observation initiative between Europe and China. Fresh from attending its kick-off symposium, ESA Earth Observation Director José Achache shared his views on the start of the Programme he originated, and the benefits it promises to bring all participants. (2004-05-03)

Greenhouse gas might green up the desert
A group of scientists headed by Prof. Dan Yakir of the Weizmann Institute found that Yatir forest, planted near the Negev Desert 35 years ago, is expanding at an unexpected rate. The findings, published in Global Change Biology, suggest that forests in other parts of the globe could also be expanding into arid lands, absorbing carbon dioxide in the process. Their research may explain why 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide remains unaccounted for. (2003-05-08)

Scientists re-evaluating the meaning of 'desertification,' Duke ecologist says
A Duke University ecologist is leading an international scientific reassessment of the causes and effects of desertification, a term he said has been subject to misinterpretation and oversimplification. (2003-03-06)

Droughts aggravated by dust in the wind
Windblown desert dust can choke rain clouds, cutting rainfall hundreds of miles away. This new discovery, made with the help of NASA satellites, suggests that droughts over arid regions, such as central Africa, are made worse by damaging land and livestock management that expand the desert. (2001-05-14)

Preserving Moroccan forests need not endanger Barbary macaques
The Moroccan government wants to move the largest remaining population of Barbary macaques because they are stripping bark off cedars, which can kill the trees. But this plan would endanger these monkeys needlessly: there is a way to help the cedars without harming the macaques, according to new research in the February issue of Conservation Biology. (2001-03-05)

Africa's Lake Chad shrinks by 20 times due to irrigation demands, climate change
In the 1960s, Africa's Lake Chad was larger than the state of Vermont but it is now smaller than Rhode Island. NASA-funded researchers now understand why Lake Chad has been disappearing over the last 30 years. (2001-02-26)

Himalyan ice cores reveal climate warming, catastrophic drought
Ice cores drilled through a glacier four miles up in the Himalayan Mountains have yielded a highly detailed record of the last 1,000 years of earth's climate in the high Tibetan Plateau. The cores show both the last decade and the last 50 years were the warmest in 1,000 years. (2000-09-14)

Spy satellite photos document desert plant invasion
Declassified spy satellite images, combined with aerial photos, document an invasion of honey mesquite bushes into a former arid grassland that is now part of a long-term scientific study of the processes of desertification in southern New Mexico. (2000-08-07)

Looking at vegetation through remote sensing
Scientists have found some unique ways to use remote-sensing data in analyzing and modeling vegetation. The latest remote sensing research in the field of geography will be presented April4-8 at the Association of American Geographers Meeting at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. (2000-04-06)

Sahara's abrupt desertification started by changes in Earth's orbit, accelerated by atmospheric and vegetation feedbacks
The Sahara, once covered with grasses and shrubs, did not become a desert gradually, but in two distinct steps, one of which was brutal. They were triggered by changes in Earth's orbit and tilt and were accelerated by feedbacks in the atmosphere and vegetation. (1999-07-07)

Vegetation Burning By Ancient Aboriginals Linked To Today's Arid Australian Interior?
A University of Colorado researcher has proposed that the systematic burning of vegetation by Aboriginals beginning roughly 50,000 years ago may have changed the climate down under and triggered the desertification of Australia's interior. (1997-12-10)

Global Change Research Should Focus On Rainfall, Not Temperature
Climate change researchers are focused too much on temperature change and should be more concerned with predicting variations in rainfall patterns, says an internationally recognized expert on global change. University of Arizona hydrologist Jim Shuttleworth suggests some key quesitons and policy actions for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (1996-09-04)

'Islands' In The Desert Yield Surprises For Botanists
A four-year study of how rainfall affects desert plants has brought botanists a humbling surprise, emphasizing the lack of understanding about the impact of climate change on the arid landscapes (1996-08-13)

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