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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Applying a New Desertification Paradigm Linking Biophysical and Socioeconomic Elements: the Amapola, Mexico, Case Study

Authors
item Reynolds, James - NICHOLAS SCHOOL ENV/EARTH
item Huber-Sannwald, Elisabeth - ENV ENG & NAT RES MGT DEP
item Maestre, Fernando - NICHOLAS SCHOOL ENV/EARTH
item HERRICK, JEFFREY
item Healy, Robert - NICHOLAS SCHOOL ENV/EARTH

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 18, 2005
Publication Date: February 5, 2005
Citation: Reynolds, J., Huber-Sannwald, E., Maestre, F., Herrick, J.E., Healy, R. 2005. Applying a new desertification paradigm linking biophysical and socio-economic elements: the Amapola, Mexico, case study. Society for Range Management, 58th Annual Meeting and Trade Show, February 5-11, 2005, Fort Worth, Texas. Paper No. 282.

Technical Abstract: The Dahlem Desertification Paradigm (DDP) is a new, interdisciplinary framework stemming from the 88th Dahlem workshop: An Integrated Assessment of the Ecological, Meteorological and Human Dimensions of Global Desertification. The DDP focuses on interrelationships within coupled human-environment systems that cause desertification and is designed to facilitate our ability to compare and contrast arid and semiarid regions of the world. We present elements of the DDP as applied to a case study of severe land degradation in La Amapola, one of the most remote and inaccessible communities of the Ejido Escalerillas, situated on the SE side of the Sierra San Miguelito, SW of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The structural heterogeneity shaping the Amapola landscape is the product of 150 yrs of human activity and climatic change, where historic legacies remain important. Amapola is a dynamic, coupled human-environmental system dominated by numerous biophysical variables (especially hydrologic phenomena such as soil erosion, gullies, flooding, man-made water reservoirs, etc.) and socioeconomic variables (changing land tenure, federal self-help assistance programs, complex community leadership hierarchies, poverty, etc.). We applied the DDP framework to the degraded Amapola ecosystem to elucidate key linkages between these biophysical and socioeconomic variables with the goal of assessing, for example, the likelihood for increased crop productivity, the potential to extend existing rain-fed and irrigated cultivation via changes in local hydrology, and the relative contribution and interactions of a number of possible degradation triggers, such as overgrazing, hydrologic intervention, and climate variability, especially linkages to the socioeconomic system.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014