Seven design principles for promoting scholars' participation in combating desertification

Lihua Yang, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Desertification has been widely recognized as a major environmental and ecological problem facing humanity today. Combating desertification is a global challenge for sustainable development and requires collective action involving government, local communities, businesses, NGOs, and international organizations. Scholars' role in this important endeavor and their mechanisms of participation, however, has received little attention in the mainstream discourse concerning global desertification control. Comparing and contrasting 30 case studies around the world, our study suggests that successful scholar-participated governance needs to satisfy seven design principles: (i) sustained participation of field-based scholars; (ii) federal organizational structure and concrete and stratified roles; (iii) democratic and collaborative management with strictly implemented mechanisms of awards and sanctions; (iv) consistent local scholar entrepreneurship; (v) realization of expected benefits; (vi) experiment-extension methods; and (vii) reliable external support. The better satisfied these principles are, the more successful is the effort to combat desertification. These findings provide evidence that stronger proactive participation of scientists and practitioners is urgently needed to tackle pressing environmental problems such as desertification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Collective action
  • Desertification control
  • Participation mechanisms
  • Scholar-participated governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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