Home 1. Study site contexts & goals Mapping desertification extent WOCAT tool for mapping land degradation and land conservation

WOCAT tool for mapping land degradation and land conservation Print

Editors: Hanspeter Liniger, Godert van Lynden, Freddy Nachtergaele, Gudrun Schwilch

Copyright © 2008: CDE/WOCAT, FAO/LADA, ISRIC


DESIRE has used the WOCAT method for mapping land degradation and sustainable land management in each of the study sites. The method was originally developed in the GLASOD project, but has been refined and developed with each successive set of applications (WOCAT, WOCAT/LADA, DESIRE).


For each distinctive land use type, the method evaluates

  • what type of land degradation is happening, where and why, and
  • what forms of land conservation practices are being used.


The method is designed to be used by an interdisciplinary team of specialists in subjects related to land degradation, land management, land use and soil and water conservation. The team first develops a base map (usually based on land use) then uses a questionnaire to gather the necessary data on land degradation and conservation for each land use system. The method is fully described in the document that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page


Once collected, the data may be entered in the on-line WOCAT mapping database (registration required) from which the various maps are generated.


The area to be mapped is divided into distinctive land use systems. Trends in changes in the area covered by easy land use and also its intensity are determined.


For each land use system, the type, extent, degree, impact on ecosystem services, direct and indirect causes of degradation are determined.


For each land use system, the type, extent, effectiveness, impact on ecosystem services and type of degradation addressed are determined for all land conservation practices used in the area.


More details ... download the full mapping methodology


English: icon Mapping land degradation and SLM (QM) (798.48 kB)

Arabic: icon Mapping land degradation and SLM (QM)_Arabic (1.07 MB)


fp6 logo 3 50 x 43
The DESIRE project was 
co-funded by the
European Commission,
Global Change and
Contract no: 037046 GOCE

DESIRE brought together the expertise of
26 international research institutes
and non-governmental organisations.

This website does not necessarily
represent the opinion of the
European Commission. The European
Commission is not responsible for
any use that might be made of the
information contained herein.

Citing website content

For the terms under which the content 
of this website may be used see 
»Disclaimer, copyright and privacy

When referenceing page contents
please cite as Brandt, C. J. (ed). 
2012. "page title". DESIRE Project 
Harmonised Information System.
DESIRE Consortium.  

If citing a deliverable use the authors'
names, date and title as given on the 
cover page and add "available at 

Follow us