Economic Policy and Desertification in Arid and Semi-arid Developing Countries

Mark Speece


Environmental degradation in arid and semi-arid regions often
results from trade-offs between immediate and long-term needs.
Ecological (and ultimately economic) benefits of restrained, sustainable
resource use are well-understood by scientists, and are usually apparent
to local farmers and herders as well. However, immediate economic needs
often conflict, and excessive exploitation of resources may be necessary
to subsistence producers’ survival. Such issues are illustrated in a
variety of settings. Solutions to problems containing important economic
components require appropriate economic policies, as well as technical
action. Long-term sustainable resource utilisation rather than
short-term exploitation must be made more attractive to local producers
in their daily lives.

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