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Estimation of the Costs of Desertification in China: A Critical Review

Cheng, Leilei, Lu, Qi, Wu, Bo, Yin, Changbin, Bao, Yingshuang, Gong, Liyan
Land degradation & development 2018 v.29 no.4 pp. 975-983
arid lands, desertification, ecosystem services, prices, China
A preliminary conceptual framework is proposed for the estimation of the costs of desertification. This framework consists of assessment of the extent and severity of desertification, identification of various impacts and valuation of the direct and indirect costs of desertification. Based on this framework, three well‐cited studies of the costs of desertification in China were critically reviewed. Limitations in these studies include double counting, confusion of short‐term and long‐term costs and the lack of necessary adjustment of price parameters. Refinement of the estimates indicates that these limitations have caused serious overestimation or underestimation of the costs of desertification. To achieve more reliable and useful estimates, future studies need to overcome the limitations mentioned in the preceding texts and use the latest available data on desertification and its various impacts. A more comprehensive conceptual framework that includes the valuation of dryland ecosystem services could also be developed to guide future studies. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.