Home 2. Assessment with indicators Evaluation & short-list of indicators Evaluation of land management practices and techniques using indicators

Evaluation of land management practices and techniques using indicators Print
The comparative analysis of the study sites elicited a number of indicators that are directly or indirectly related to different degradation processes. However, the large number of these (50 in the case of water stress) makes the use of all of them impractical. Further statistical analysis of the data, from all the DESIRE study sites, was used to reduce the lists to a smaller number of effective indicators.


Degradation process Major land use Number of effective indicators
Soil erosion by water runoff Agriculture 17
Pastures and shrubland 15
Forests 11
Tillage erosion Agriculture 10
Soil salinization Agriculture, natural vegetation 9
Water stress Agriculture, natural vegetation 12
Overgrazing Natural vegetation, agriculture 16
Forest fires Natural vegetation 8


The coefficients of linear regression between each degradation process and indicator values have been used to develop algorithms for calculating a desertification risk index (DRI). For example, when the main cause of degradation is water stress,


DRI = (0.316 x rainfall seasonality) + (0.194 x groundwater exploitation) + (0.194 x slope gradient) - (0.110 x rate of deforested area) - (0.107 x impervious surface area) - (0.139 x fire frequency) + (0.194 x soil erosion control) - (0.442 x rate of land abandonment) + (0.028 x water scarcity) + (0.313 x tourism change) + (0.108 x population density) + (1.096 x policy implementation)


All the algorithms have been included in a decision support system the Desertification Risk Assessment Tool which has been designed for use by various stakeholders so they can assess land degradation and desertification risk under existing physical environmental, economic and social conditions and select the appropriate land management practices and techniques for combating the risk.


Separate research has shown that an increase in the calculated DRI corresponds to

  • an increase in sediment loss,
  • a decrease in soil organic matter content and
  • a decrease in soil aggregate stability.


More details ... read on-line or download the full report

WP2.2 Evaluation of land management practices and techniques using indicators

WP2.2 Evaluation of land management practices and techniques using indicators [1.73 MB]


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The DESIRE project was 
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