Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home page No. 40, Fall/Winter 1996
The CCD, Part I: Africa and the Mediterranean

Books of interest

"Books are the carriers of civilization (....) Books are humanity in print."

--Barbara Tuchman, American historian


Desertification in Developed Countries
edited by David A. Mouat and Charles F. Hutchinson
Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995.

"This special issue of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment is devoted to a selection of peer-reviewed papers presented at the International Symposium and Workshop on Desertification in Developed Countries: Why Can't We Control It? The symposium and workshop were held in Tucson, Arizona, October 24-29, 1994, with the last day being devoted to six workshops, each of which discussed and made recommendations on one of the following desertification-related topics: common indicators, stressors, socioeconomic factors, innovative approaches, consistent problems, and a proposed symposium and workshop to be held in 1997." Twenty-four peer-reviewed papers are included.

Desertification: Natural Background and Human Mismanagement, 2nd edition.
By Monique Mainguet
Berlin; New York: Springer Verlag, 1994.
This second edition, revised and amended following UNCED, "aims at an understanding of what is commonly called 'desertification' (....) Its purpose is to present what has happened in reality, and what might be done (....) The benefit to the reader is an awareness of the ecozones which have undergone the most severe land degradation, and a global overview of the phenomena, mechanisms and existing solutions."

L'homme et la Secheresse
by Monique Mainguet
Paris: MASSON geographie, 1995.

[in French; translated title, "Man and Drought".] Aridity and drought have impinged on and shaped dryland human societies for millenia. Unable to overcome these phenomena directly, humans have instead attempted to live with and/or fight their effects. Both nomadic civilizations and the great agricultural, irrigation-based societies of the world's arid regions were shaped at least partly in response to aridity and drought. But is it realistic to suppose that such struggles, with their high costs, can be carried out at a global scale? This is the question which is considered in this book.

Bioclimatologie et Biogéographie des Steppes Arides du Nord de l'Afrique: Diversité Biologique, Développement Durable et Désertisation
by H.N. Le Houérou
Montpellier, France: CIHEAM (Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes), 1995.
(Série B: Etudes et recherches, no. 10, Options Méditerranéennes)
[In French; translated title, "Bioclimatology and Biogeography of the Arid Steppes of North Africa: Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development and Desertification."] "The present publication claims to be a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on the Bioclimatology and the Biogrography of the arid steppeland of Northern Africa, north of the Sahara. The synthesis is concerned with parts of the following countries (...): Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco."

Other Books

Canals and Communities: Small-Scale Irrigation Systems
edited by Jonathan B. Mabry
Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1996
(Arizona Studies in Human Ecology)
"This book presents case studies and comparative essays about local institutions for managing water resources. Drawn from around the globe, the cases clearly demonstrate that "indigenous" irrigation is often more sustainable, cost-effective, and flexible than has been generally believed. The contributors discuss a wide range of environments, cultural traditions, and historical contexts in which such systems operate, maintaining a common focus on incentives for cooperation, operational rules, collective-choice arrangements, principles of allocation, and conflict-resolution mechanisms."

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