Land degradation is the loss of ecological and economical productivity as a result of natural processes. It is often induced or exacerbated by human activity, such as land use change or infrastructural works that increase the sensitivity of the landscape to disturbance and cause an irreversible decline of its natural buffer function. This course will give an overview of the processes and human interactions that are associated with land degradation. Topics covered include erosion induced by water and wind, mass movements, desertification, hazard assessment approaches and mitigation & conservation strategies. The focus will be on the physical description of land degradation processes and its societal factors and impacts. The objective is to instil the student with a thorough understanding of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of land degradation processes and instruct him/her in the quantitative assessment thereof. This shall provide the student with the fundamental knowledge to specialise in land degradation research and applications.
By the end of the course, the student will have acquired: