This text aims to summarize the state of scientific knowledge on the drylands of the globe. It explores the current stage of understanding of desertification as well as its extent and possible solutions. The book argues that desertification is one of the world's most pressing environmental problems and that it is a global issue which is accelerating. This edition has been revised and expanded to include updated computer images of desertification, as well as fuller descriptions and explanations of the issues concerned. Using detailed data of the physical and chemical status of soil degradation provided by the Global Assessment of Soil Degradation, the book is fully referenced and covers topics including: desertification and global warming; monitoring on the ground and by remote sensing; vegetation and degradation; local action; cultural factors; financial issues; land reclaimations; the political economy and desertification; and desertification and refugees.