Theories on progressive desiccation and desertification: Reassessing the drought hazard
Processes that determine the drought hazard for the people living in arid environments have been for some time the subject of research. Recently, new theories and hypotheses popularised under the heading of 'desertification' have emerged that offer a number of differing interpretations of the nature of the problem. A reassessment of current knowledge on the drought hazard is provided to show that theories on desertification are in large part hybrids of those widely studied in geographical climatology and natural hazards research. Evaluation is centred on the meaning of desertification and the extent to which it is caused by changing climate, climate variability or misuse of the land. Specific examples are drawn from the Sahelian zone of Africa, the world's casebook on drought and desertification.