Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Land Degradation and Desertification

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Desertification and Land Degradation is fast becoming one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. The first part of the study unit is devoted to a discussion of the problem within a global context while a second part discusses the unique character of Mediterranean desertification and the resultant regional patterns of the problem. A third section is concerned with management issues and drought mitigation measures.

Study-unit Aims:

1. To familiarise students with the pressing problem of land degradation and desertification from a global to a local scale and explain how this has developed over time.
2. Identify and analyze the interactions between human and physical causes, and consequences, of land degradation
3. Explore and evaluate a variety of mitigation measures employed in addressing the problem at different socio-environmental contexts

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Upon completion of the study unit, students would identify the main physical and human factors that cause desertification and analyze their consequences.
2. Students would also be expected to compare a variety of case studies and evaluate the various management strategies aimed at combating desertification.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Identify actual and potential areas prone to soil erosion and land degradation within specific rural landscapes in the Maltese Islands.
2. Analyze the main factors contributing to land degradation within a particular field site.
3. Compile these observations into maps and text and present such information in a field report.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Imeson, Anton (2011) Desertification, Land Degradation and Sustainability, Wiley-Blackwell
Zdruli, P., Pagliai, M. Kapur, S., Cano, A.F., (2010) Land Degradation and Desertification: Assessment, Mitigation and Remediation. Springer.
Johnson D. L. and Lewis L. A. (2007) Land Degradation (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Tanti C., Rolé A., Borg A., and Calleja I., (2003) Protection of Soil and Rural Landscapes in Northwest Malta, Government of Malta and Priorities Action Program, United Nations Environment Program, Split, Coatia. -
Rolé A. et al (2005) Sustainable Rural Land Management in the Maltese Islands etc., in Zdruli P. and Trisorio Liuzzi G. (eds.) Medcoastland.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 No 50%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Avertano Role'

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.