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Abstract

The total area of the Arab Region is about 14·2 million km2, 90% of it lies within arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. The area is characterized by harsh environment, fragile ecosystems and limited water resources and arable lands. Throughout its long history these lands were the main source of grain and animal production.The total area of the Arab Region is about 14·2 million km2, 90% of it lies within arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. The area is characterized by harsh environment, fragile ecosystems and limited water resources and arable lands. Throughout its long history these lands were the main source of grain and animal production.

By the end of this century and in spite of the national, regional and international efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effect of drought and desiccation, desertification is still one of the major environmental problems in the Arab Region. The rapid increase in population by some 3% annually, considered among the highest worldwide, along with the changing of consumption patterns and life styles, resulting in increasing food demand, have hastened land degradation in this arid environment.

Land degradation in the Arab Region due to misuse is widespread and is proceeding at accelerating rates. Failures of resource management policies are aggravated by overgrazing, overexploitation of water and land resources, overcultivation of marginal lands, deforestation, and the use of inappropriate technologies.
This paper attempts to provide:
1. A synthesis and analysis of the status of desertification in the Arab Region.
2. Identification of the major causes and trends of land degradation.
3. Highlighting the limitations and constraints on combating desertification in the Arab Region.