Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
Australia Leads in War on Desertification
Australia leads in war on desertification.

Desertification is playing a key role in accelerating global climate change – and Australia may have some answers, scientists at the Desert Knowledge CRC said today.

"The World Resources Institute has estimated that as much as 300 million tonnes of carbon are lost to the atmosphere from drylands as a result of desertification each year - about 4 percent of global emissions," DKCRC's Dr Mark Stafford Smith says. "It also undermines the livelihoods of up to 250 million vulnerable people, creating conflict, humanitarian crises and environmental refugees. This makes desertification a major concern for everyone."

"However in Australia we have seen recent evidence that desert vegetation cover – and hence carbon storage – may actually be improving. This underlines the importance, first of understanding what is really going on and second, of taking the right management approaches."

"Looking after our deserts better will not only help to curb greenhouse emissions, it will also protect our native species and landscapes and make pastoralism more sustainable. You could say it is a no regrets policy," Dr Stafford Smith says.

His comments come on the eve of the United Nations' World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every year on June 17. Drylands occupy nearly a third of the world's land area and support two billion people. Estimates suggest as much as 20 percent of the world's drylands are degraded or desertified – meaning that humans are taking more from them than these regions can renewably provide. This has caused long-term loss of productivity.

Globally, 20,000 to 50,000 square kilometres are lost annually through land degradation, chiefly soil erosion, due to unsustainable land management and climate change. Losses in Africa, Latin America and Asia are 2-6 times higher than in the developed regions. China is experiencing severe desertification over a vast area, roughly equivalent to 35 percent of the country's territory, according to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

Among Australia's leading contributions to the global battle against desertification is ACRIS, the Australian Collaborative Rangelands Information System, which is being looked at internationally as a model for how to monitor desertification, in the lead-up to the UN Convention on Desertification conference in Buenos Aires in September this year.

ACRIS - a joint program involving state and Federal Government agencies - has pioneered a collaborative system for recording and reporting on environmental, economic and social changes in the rangelands.

"We have managed to bring together various different data sets from state and Northern Territory government sources to create a national picture of the condition of our rangelands – one that is founded on hard data, rather than expert opinion," explains ACRIS coordinator Mr Gary Bastin. Above all the information system looks at how the rangelands function – their level of vegetation cover, the landscape's ability to take up water, provide forage for pastoralism, the impacts of rainfall, drought, erosion, fire and grazing and the human and ecological responses to all three.

In 2008, ACRIS produced a landmark national review of condition and trends across Australia's rangelands – the first objective survey of the dry regions of the continent as a whole. "You'd have to say that things are holding up pretty well," says Mr Bastin. "The survey is focussed mainly on the pastoral regions but, allowing for seasonal variations, there is no strong prevailing sense that modern grazing practices are having a widespread adverse impact."

Queensland has recently introduced satellite monitoring of rangeland condition and Gary hopes this will eventually extend to cover the whole continent, giving Australia a truly world-leading system for managing rangelands sustainably.

"The fact that this is a highly co-operative effort across different governments here, we're hoping, can serve as a model for international collaboration on monitoring the conditions of the world's dry lands and for the future prevention of desertification," Gary says.

The Desert Knowledge CRC is helping to fight desertification in many other ways, explains Managing Director Jan Ferguson. "Among our many research programs aimed at this problem, four are particularly worth mentioning as helping to change the way we care for our continent, its desert areas and their people," she says.

These are:

• A recent major study of the Lake Eyre Basin highlighting how regional-scale coordination is necessary to control desertification and caring for desert landscapes, and how thinly-scattered local communities need more support in this role.

• DKCRC's WaterSmart PastoralismTM project which demonstrated practical ways that pastoralists can save both money and water using advanced technologies like telemetry.

• The nation's leading study of wind erosion, the formation of a national DustWatch network to observe major soil movements in the deserts, and advice for pastoralists on how to reduce erosion risk.

• Research into desert fire behaviour is establishing state-of-the-art knowledge about how to manage fires for enhanced vegetation cover as well as protection of people and infrastructure in regions such as the Tanami desert, the NT pastoral lands, Central Australia, the acacia scrublands and desert national parks.

More information:

Dr Mark Stafford Smith, DKCRC and CSIRO, ph 02 6242 1719 or 0408 852 082
Jan Ferguson, Managing Director, DKCRC, 08 8959 6041 or 0401 719 882
Prof. Julian Cribb, DKCRC media, 0418 639 245

World Desertification Day:






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange