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Of the 1 977 million ha of drylands in Asia, more than one-half are affected by desertification (UNCCD 1998). The worst affected area is Central Asia (more than 60 per cent affected by desertification) followed by South Asia (more than 50 per cent) and Northeast Asia (about 30 per cent).

Activities to combat desertification include watershed management, soil and water conservation, sand dune stabilization, reforestation programmes, reclamation of waterlogged and saline lands, forest and rangeland management, and soil fertility restoration. In India, programmes initiated since the early 1990s include the Afforestation Programme, Drought Prone Areas Programme (1994-95), Desert Development Programme, National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (1990-91), the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (encouraging local community participation) and the Environmental Action Programme 1993 (MoEF India 2000).

Removal of vegetation from Western Australia's farming areas has allowed groundwater to rise and salinization to set in

Source: UNEP, Peter Garside, Topham Picturepoint

Desertification vulnerability: Asia and the Pacific

More than onehalf of the region's drylands are affected by desertification - the worst affected area is Central Asia, followed by South Asia and Australia

Source: Reich and others 2001