Archive for the ‘desertification’ Category

Risk of drought exaggerated by the press

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Researchers from the University of Barcelona have  analysed all the articles published in the La Vanguardia newspaper between 1982 and 2007 linked to natural hazards, climate change and sustainable development. Over 25 years the press devoted more headlines to forest fires and droughts, even though floods are much more frequent and cause more damage. The article’s main author Carme Llasat comments:

If the press focus more on forest fires and droughts, then people also become more aware of these events, to such an extent that they are deemed a more significant hazard in the area and more frequent occurrences than they really are”

This is a fascinating study on how the media fuels the public perception of environmental hazards. More here

Climate head attacks Aznar

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The top UN climate official Yvo de Boer has attacked former Spanish president and climate-change denialist Jose Maria Aznar, stating during a press conference “I’d say to him: ‘Look out of your window.’ I think that in a few years we could have the Spanish Sahara which he’ll be able to see in person’. (PS I don’t have the original words in English so I’ve re-formulated them)
El Pais

Spain to plant 45 million trees

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

The Spanish government has announced a plan to plant 45 million trees of local Iberian, Balearic and Canarian species with the aim of promoting “Spain’s natural heritage”. The plan involves reforesting more than 61,000 hectares, revitalising ecosystems and creating some 3,000 jobs, particularly in rural areas. The planting will be done in public lands between 2009 and 2012 and will require an investment of 90 million euros. The programme is backed by the a new forest fire prevention plan

The director of Greenpeace España, Juan López Uralde, states that the announcement “is a first step but is insuficient to put a stop to desertification”. El Mundo

See also

37% of Spain at risk from desertification

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Tabernas (Almería)

Spain has finally implemented its first Programme of National Action against Desertification which recognises that 37% of the country is at a very high, high or medium risk from desertification, and is in danger of becoming “eroded forever”. This risk is also termed Sahelisation, after the North African region, and with coming climate change is set to worsen.

Since 2001 there has been a huge loss in fertile soil due to erosion totalling 17 tonnes per hectare per year: 67 millon tonnes of soil, much of which gets caught up in reservoirs, and representing an increase of 8% since 2001. The problem has been seriously heightened by intensive agriculture and the spread of urbanisation and infrastructures. El Mundo

Note: This figure of 37% has risen from 36% last year. See Threat of desertification (also with map of area)

Spanish water wars

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Spain is struggling to deal with the worst drought since the 1940s: reservoirs stand at 46 per cent of capacity and rainfall over the past 18 months has been 40 per cent below average. After months of low rainfall, parched Catalonia has had to appeal to Madrid for help – and now ecologists fear the costs of a long-term solution. The Guardian

Worst drought in Mediterranean Spain since 1912

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Worst drought since 1912
According to director general of water of the Ministry of the Environment, Jaime Palop, Mediterranean Spain is suffering the worst drought since 1912. (El Mundo)

Spanish drought worsens

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Spain is suffering its worst drought in the October-March semester for 60 years, with a national average of just 177 mm compared to the normal value of 316 mm. Only the unlikely event of very heavy rains over the next two weeks would save the period from beating the record. The prolonged drought over the last three years is the worst since reliable records began.
El Mundo

Drought in Catalonia

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Worst drought in Catalonia for 70 years with little rain expected till April (El Pais)

Threat of desertification

Friday, August 31st, 2007

The United Nations Convention to Fight Desertification is to be held on September 3-4 in Madrid. Desertification threatens 36% of Spain: 2% of Spain suffers from extreme risk of desertification, with 15% having a high risk. Degraded soils cover a further 19%. Worst hit are the Canaries and the south-east,  and to a lesser much of the southern half of the Peninsula, the Ebro basin and southern Catalonia. Although some degradation may be blamed on climate change and natural processes, most areas are the result of fire, overgrazing, aquifer depletion and bad farming practices – human mismanagement. The Spanish government has called on the EU to set up a centre for desertification with its headquarters in Spain. Older material on desertification in Spain here

Map of risk of desertification in Spain (MMA)

Map of aridity in Spain