Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home page No. 42, Fall/Winter 1997
Urban Agriculture in Drylands

Selected resources of interest

annotated by Carla Casler

Landnutzung und desertifikation in Nord- und Westafrika: Fallstudien aus Marokko, Niger und Togo / Land use and desertification in north and west Africa: Case studies from Morocco, Niger, and Togo
Edited by Hans-Joachim Späth
Paderborner Geographische Studien, Band 6
Selbstverlag des Faches Geographie, Universität Paderborn, 1997. 170 pp.
Available from:

Selbstverlag des Faches Geographie, FB 1
Universität Paderborn
33095 Paderborn
This volume comprises three case studies: one on terrace landscapes in the high atlas of Morocco (in German, with English abstract at the end); one on the fuelwood crisis of Niamey, Niger (in English, with German abstract); and one on analysis of "geofactors" as a basis for land use patterns and erosion processes in northern Togo (in German). This is a finely done volume, with many photos, tables, color remote-sensing images, and maps to illustrate and clarify the information presented. Besides the maps bound in the volume, there are six folded maps of regions of Togo in the back, which provide details on soil analysis and ethnic areas.

The following two books are available from:

University of Arizona Press
1230 N. Park Avenue, Suite 102
Tucson, AZ 85719
Tel: +1 (520) 626-4218
Fax: +1 (520) 621-8899

Ecology and management of North American savannas
by Guy R. McPherson
The University of Arizona Press, 1997. 209 pp. $35.00 hardbound
"North American savannas, defined as ecosystems with a continuous grass layer and scattered trees or shrubs, are extensive and diverse." McPherson defines the major non-tropical North American savannas geographically and by type of vegetation. Besides discussing the importance of savannas, he explains the overstory-understory interactions, how savannas develop, and fire as a major factor maintaining savannas. He also covers the history and future of savannas and the importance of applying ecological knowledge and research to their management. An extensive bibliography is provided at the end.

The desert grassland
edited by Mitchel P. McClaran and Thomas R. Van Devender
The University of Arizona Press, 1995. 346pp. $19.95
A comprehensive study of desert grassland ecology in southwestern North America. It includes studies of plant communities, changing climates, soil formation, the role of fire, diversity and functional roles of vertebrates and invertebrates, human impacts, and revegetation. A bibliography and lists of common and scientific names of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates are provided. Maps, photos, line drawings, and tables illustrate and enrich the text.

The following two publications are available from:

United Nations Environment Programme
P.O. Box 30552
Fax: +254 (2) 623284

Or from:
SMI Distribution Service Ltd.
P.O.Box 119
Stevenagen, Hertfordshire SG1 4TP
United Kingdom

The social dimensions of desertification: Annotated bibliography and literature review
compiled by Yvette D. Evers, for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD), and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), November 1996. 154 pp. US$20
This publication does a good job of defining aspects of the problem of desertification and describing publications that provide further information on this important topic. Bibliographies are included in each chapter and a compilation of all these follows at the end. Chapters are:

  • Social processes and desertification
  • Local demographic and social structures
  • Socio-cultural, economic and environmental impacts of desertification
  • Resource use conflicts
  • Local level adaptation practices
  • Desertification policies and programmes

Success stories: Saving the drylands 1995 award winners
Dryland Ecosystems and Desertification Control Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, 1996. 44pp.
There is a lot of published information about the seriousness of the problem of desertification, but not much about successful strategies to combat it. This useful booklet describes eight projects that offer hope for controlling desertification:

  • Tamarix trees in Northern China
  • Stopping sand in Cele County (China)
  • Saving the forest in India
  • Reclaiming the Thal Desert (Pakistan)
  • Restoring the Louga region of Senegal
  • The success of Farmer Samb (Senegal)
  • Holistic farming in Namibia
  • Unity in diversity--holistic planning in Western Australia

The following four publications are available from:

The Russian Committee for the UNESCO Program on Man and the Biosphere
Russian Academy of Science
13 Fersman St.
Moscow 117312
Fax: +7 (95) 129-13054

Arid Ecosystems
A journal founded in 1995, each issue provides one table of contents in Russian and one in English. Most articles and bibliographies are in Russian, followed by a substantial summary in English. In vol 2, no. 4 there is one article in English, "Changing patterns of irrigation in the American high plains" by D.E. Kromm and S.E. White--in this case, a Russian summary follows the article. Subjects covered include desertification, ecology, land reclamation, climate change, biodiversity, afforestation, wildlife and soils.

Biota and environment of the Kalmykia Republic
edited by Igor S. Zonn and Valery M. Neronov, 1995. 280pp.
In Russian.
English abstracts of the articles are given in the back. Studies of the Kalmykia Republic include desertification, ecology, reclamation, wildlife conservation, remote sensing, and climate mapping.

Mammals in the palaearctic desert: Status and trends in the Sahara-Gobian region
edited by Jeffrey A. McNeely & Valeri M. Neronov, 1991. 298 pp.
In English.
The papers in this book cover the conservation of rare and endangered mammal species in the Sahara-Gobian desert region. Topics include wildlife management and protection, biological diversity, and climatic change in arid regions of Africa, the Middle East, Kazakstan, and Asia.

Desertification Glossary, 2nd ed.
compiled by Igor S. Zonn, Moscow, United Nations Environment Programme, National Committee for Russia, 1996. 206pp.
The glossary is in Russian, with an index that includes English terms. It also contains maps and tables.

Gardening the arid land
by Robert Gerard
Brooker Publishing, 1997, 149 pp., $8.95
Available from:

Robert Gerard
441 Paseo Real
Chaparral, NM 88021
phone: +1 (505) 824-0697

Information in this intensely personal book is based on Gerard's experiences as a market-gardener in North America's Chihuahuan Desert. Gerard learned gardening techniques as a boy in Wales, then re-learned techniques when settling in the desert. He offers clear, complete explanations for the nature of the soil and additives to it, water and plants. His orientation is towards using organic gardening and permaculture techniques as a means of producing commercially viable crops while preserving and building soil health.

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Carla Casler is a Project Librarian at the Arid Lands Information Center, Office of Arid Lands Studies. The editor gratefully acknowledges her assistance in the preparation of this information for publication.

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