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Title:Contesting views and changing paradigms: the land degradation debate in Southern Africa
Author:Dahlberg, AnnikaISNI
Series:Discussion paper
City of publisher:Uppsala
Publisher:Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
Geographic terms:South Africa
Swaziland - Eswatini
Subject:soil fertility
External link:http://nai.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:273402
Abstract:This paper covers some of the wide range of issues that have been brought into the debate on environmental change and degradation of the semiarid lands of southern Africa. In section one, commonly used definitions of land degradation and desertification are examined. Causes of degradation are briefly reviewed, as well as statements on the severity of the situation and the status of present research. Causal links and indicators of degradation are explored in more detail in the following section. Thereafter, in section three, contradictory evidence of degradation is presented, and examples from Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland are discussed. Section four demonstrates how aspects of time and space, and the perception of these concepts in relation to environmental conditions, have influenced studies of degradation. The subsequent section shows how ideas about nonequilibrium ecosystems are changing traditional models, approaches, and methodologies. Section six reviews the present state of research and recommended future approaches to certain aspects of the degradation issue. The final section summarizes the main points of the discussion.