In this article, the characteristics of desertification, causative factors and efforts to combat desertification in Libya are presented. Also, the need to mainstream sustainable land management into land use planning is highlighted which could provide a firm basis for future policy decisions to combat desertification. Libya is characterized by a desert type environment and more than 95% of the country is desert or semi-desert. The processes of desertification have been aggravated by human activities coupled with climatic conditions. This intensification of desertification is believed to affect regional as well as global climate. Currently, desertification is one of the main environmental issues in Libya affecting environment and its resources. Among others, overexploitation of natural resources, inappropriate land use planning, insufficient water resources etc. are the main factors escalating the process of desertification and deteriorating environmental quality. Mainstreaming sustainable land management into land use planning has been considered a viable solution to moderate the effects of desertification and rampant usages of natural resources. However, this requires quantifying the severity of desertification by means of identified causative factor. Development of indicators of desertification process by means of using time-series satellite data coupled with ancillary data need to be attempted to establish a monitoring system to manage desertification in more sensitive areas. Moreover, environmental and livelihood implications of increasing desertification need to be addressed in order to promote regional economic sustainable development.
Key words: Desertification, human impacts, Libya, natural resources, sustainable development, remote sensing, monitoring.
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