From Framework to Action: The DESIRE Approach to Combat Desertification

R. Hessel*, M. S. Reed, N. Geeson, C. J. Ritsema, G. van Lynden, C. A. Karavitis, G. Schwilch, V. Jetten, P. Burger, M. J. van der Werff ten Bosch, S. Verzandvoort, E. van den Elsen, K. Witsenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


It has become increasingly clear that desertification can only be tackled through a multi-disciplinary approach that not only involves scientists but also stakeholders. In the DESIRE project such an approach was taken. As a first step, a conceptual framework was developed in which the factors and processes that may lead to land degradation and desertification were described. Many of these factors do not work independently, but can reinforce or weaken one another, and to illustrate these relationships sustainable management and policy feedback loops were included. This conceptual framework can be applied globally, but can also be made site-specific to take into account that each study site has a unique combination of bio-physical, socio-economic and political conditions. Once the conceptual framework was defined, a methodological framework was developed in which the methodological steps taken in the DESIRE approach were listed and their logic and sequence were explained. The last step was to develop a concrete working plan to put the project into action, involving stakeholders throughout the process. This series of steps, in full or in part, offers explicit guidance for other organizations or projects that aim to reduce land degradation and desertification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-950
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPrint publication - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual framework
  • Desertification mitigation
  • Land degradation
  • Methodological framework
  • Participatory approach
  • Sustainable land management


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