Monday, August 06, 2007

Healing damaged deserts in Arizona & worldwide

SAN DIEGO -- My friend Dave Bainbridge has an important new book out you should read. If we take action for restoration, there is hope for healthier deserts in our future.

Dryland degradation and desertification now affect almost a billion people around the world, including in Arizona, the southwest and Mexico. Tragically, the biological resources and productivity of millions of acres of land are lost to desertification each year because people remain unaware of strategies and techniques that could improve yields, reduce risk, and begin healing the world’s deserts.

“Once damaged, deserts are very difficult to repair,”
states David A. Bainbridge, author of A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands (Island Press, June 28), “but I have demonstrated that it can be done.”

Bainbridge, associate professor in the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management at Alliant University in San Diego, has spent 25 years in the deserts of the American Southwest developing his restoration methods and has traveled to Jordan, Portugal, Mexico, and China to refine them further. “Through restoration we can improve our understanding of desert ecology, and we can improve management of some of the harshest environments on Earth,” he states. Improved management takes not just ecological skills, but must also recognize and address the economic and cultural drivers that lead to desertification.

In A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration, Bainbridge discusses the ecology of desert plants, explores the causes of desertification and land abuse, and outlines the processes and procedures needed to evaluate, plan, implement, and monitor desert restoration projects, including restoration in use for ranchers and farmers. It is the first comprehensive, illustrated guide to practical, field-tested strategies and techniques on desert restoration and will be an invaluable resource for anyone working in arid lands, including restorationists, farmers, ranchers, gardeners, landscapers, outdoor recreation professionals, and activists. It has ideally suited for ecological restoration courses, and has already been selected for this use.

A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration is the newest volume in The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration series, published by Island Press in collaboration with the Society for Ecological Restoration International. The series offers a foundation of practical knowledge and scientific insight that will help ecological restoration become the powerful healing tool that the world needs. To learn more about the series, please visit Island Press.

See also desertrestore.org

- adapted from Island Press

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