Climate change and desertification in South Africa – science and response

  • ERM Archer
  • MA Tadross


Despite significant attention paid to desertification and climate change in the last few decades, interactions between the phenomena, as well as implications thereof, have received less of a focus. Such a trend is particularly marked in the science–policy arena, at multiple scales.  Reynolds et al. (2007) observe, for example, the lack of a focused international science programme in desertification – a gap that may compound the problem. This article seeks to unpack two-way interactions between climate change and desertification, using selected  case studies from the South and southern African, and global, contexts. It considers emerging approaches to responding to climate change in the context of desertification, emphasising the need for improved integrated biophysical and social science approaches, a focus on multiple synergies and cross-sectoral strategies, and the need for  improved communication across the science–policy divide.

Keywords: climate change; land degradation; southern Africa

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2009, 26(3): 127–131

Author Biographies

ERM Archer
Climate Change, CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment, PO Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
MA Tadross
Climate Systems Analysis Group, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119