chapter  39
Desertification
ByMeri Juntti
Pages 14

Desertifi cation, like climate change and biodiversity loss, has been deemed a global environmental challenge that merits its own multilateral convention to achieve coordinated action to combat and mitigate its impact (see Chapters 28 and 37 ). The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertifi cation (UNCCD), established in the wake of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit on sustainable development, orchestrates action on desertifi cation at a global level. However, like many other environmental issues, desertifi cation is a nebulous concept, where scientifi c knowledge (see Chapter 17 ), political opinion (see Chapter 26 ) and operative-level experience and know-how converge, confl ict and vie for domination. Over a hundred defi nitions of desertifi - cation are identifi able from the literature, but most relate it to the loss of an area’s resource potential, through depletion of soil cover, vegetation cover or loss of useful plant species (Middleton 2008 ).