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Soil degradation and theoretical aspects of desertification in arid and semi-arid environments. Degradation versus self-organization
Convener: Lorena M. Zavala  | Co-Conveners: Antonio Jordán , Juan Gil , Tom Vanwalleghem , Erik Cammeraat 
Oral Programme
 / Thu, 26 Apr, 15:30–17:00  / Room 6
Poster Programme
 / Attendance Thu, 26 Apr, 17:30–19:00  / Hall Z

Desertification is a process that reduces the soil's ability to function as a support for life. Desertification processes are especially intense in arid and semi-arid areas where climate is characterized by a dry hot season, intense evapotranspiration, and a marked seasonality of rainfall.
In this context, soils are fragile systems which may suffer more intensely the risk of degradation. Arid lands have been intensely used for agriculture for millennia. As a result, these areas show intense degradation processes, with loss of organic matter, increased erosion rates, decreased fertility, salinization, among others. Otherwise, self-organization representing an intrinsic evolution of a system pattern in response to external influences occurs in many drylands. In some systems, it plays an important role in maintaining stability in areas undergoing climate change and frequent human disturbance, while in others patterns occur as a result of such disturbances.
The session will focus on past and present erosion processes, the effect of agriculture, grazing, and other human activities such as land use change, forest fire effects, and the soil and landscape restoration and conservation strategies in the context of global change. Also, the session aims to attract studies involved with assessing and modeling self-organization processes at different scales with special emphasis on soil and plant patterns influenced by climate change and human disturbances to the natural processes. We are interested in gathering presentations concerning theoretical and field studies addressing fundamental questions regarding spatial mechanisms of self-organization, their signatures, and their relationships with environmental controls. Studies which explicitly link the resilience of ecogeomorphic systems to self-organized behaviour in areas threatened by desertification are also most welcomed.
Conveners hope that this session will be a forum where participants will discuss plan programs and develop future research projects.
Publication of selected abstracts in an international peer-reviewed journal will be considered by conveners.
Solicited speakers: M. Muñoz-Rojas,; Sameh Abd-Elmabod,; Vincent Deblauwe,