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Basic Economy. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing are the occupations of 40 percent of the thirty million people who are employed. Light manufacturing, construction, mining and the service industries provide the remainder of employment opportunities. The unemployment rate is over 9 percent. Fifty percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The Asian financial crisis resulted in a lack of jobs, and the drought period of the El Niño weather cycle has reduced the number of agricultural positions. It is not uncommon for people to "volunteer" as workers in the health care field in hopes of being chosen to work when a position becomes available. People work seven days a week and take additional jobs to maintain or improve their lifestyle or pay for a child's education. Eight hundred thousand citizens work overseas, primarily as merchant seamen, health care, household, or factory workers in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Over Seas Workers (OSWs) have a governmental agency that looks after their interests. Laws govern hours of work, insurance coverage, and vacation time, but workers may be exploited and mistreated. Recruitment centers are found in all large municipalities. OSWs send $7 billion home each year, providing 4 percent of the gross domestic product.
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Desertification is land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, collectively known as drylands, resulting from many factors, including human activities and climatic variations. The range and intensity of desertification have increased in some dryland areas over the past several decades (high confidence). Drylands currently cover about 46.2% (0.8%) of the global land area and are home to 3 billion people. The multiplicity and complexity of the processes of desertification make its quantification difficult. Desertification hotspots, as identified by a decline in vegetation productivity between the 1980s and 2000s, extended to about 9.2% of drylands (0.5%), affecting about 500 (120) million people in 2015. The highest numbers of people affected are in South and East Asia, the circum Sahara region including North Africa and the Middle East including the Arabian Peninsula (low confidence). Other dryland regions have also experienced desertification. Desertification has already reduced agricultural productivity and incomes (high confidence) and contributed to the loss of biodiversity in some dryland regions (medium confidence). In many dryland areas, spread of invasive plants has led to losses in ecosystem services (high confidence), while over-extraction is leading to groundwater depletion (high confidence). Unsustainable land management, particularly when coupled with droughts, has contributed to higher dust-storm activity, reducing human well-being in drylands and beyond (high confidence). Dust storms were associated with global cardiopulmonary mortality of about 402,000 people in 2005. Higher intensity of sand storms and sand dune movements are causing disruption and damage to transportation and solar and wind energy harvesting infrastructures (high confidence). 3.1.1, 3.1.4, 3.2.1, 3.3.1, 3.4.1, 3.4.2, 3.4.2, 3.7.3, 3.7.4
Saudi Arabia is highly vulnerable to desertification (Ministry of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources 2016361), with this vulnerability expected to increase in the north-western parts of the country in the coming decades. Yahiya (2012)362 found that Jazan, south-western Saudi Arabia, lost about 46% of its vegetation cover from 1987 to 2002. Droughts and frequent dust storms were shown to impose adverse impacts over Saudi Arabia, especially under global warming and future climate change (Hasanean et al. 2015363). In north-west Jordan, 18% of the area was prone to severe to very severe desertification (Al-Bakri et al. 2016364). Large parts of the Syrian drylands have been identified as undergoing desertification (Evans and Geerken 2004365; Geerken and Ilaiwi 2004366). Moridnejad et al. (2015)367 identified newly desertified regions in the Middle East based on dust sources, finding that these regions accounted for 39% of all detected dust source points. Desertification has increased substantially in Iran since the 1930s. Despite numerous efforts to rehabilitate degraded areas, it still poses a major threat to agricultural livelihoods in the country (Amiraslani and Dragovich 2011368).
Another assumption in RESTREND is that any trend is linear throughout the period examined. That is, there are no discontinuities (break points) in the trend. Browning et al. (2017)432 have shown that break points in NDVI time series reflect vegetation changes based on long-term field sites. To overcome this limitation, Burrell et al. (2017)433 introduced the Time Series Segmentation-RESTREND (TSS-RESTREND) which allows a breakpoint or turning point within the period examined (Figure 3.7). Using TSS-RESTREND over Australia they identified more than double the degrading area than could be identified with a standard RESTREND analysis. The occurrence and drivers of abrupt change (turning points) in ecosystem functioning were also examined by Horion et al. (2016)434 over the semi-arid Northern Eurasian agricultural frontier. They combined trend shifts in RUE, field data and expert knowledge, to map environmental hotspots of change and attribute them to climate and human activities. One-third of the area showed significant change in RUE, mainly occurring around the fall of the Soviet Union (1991) or as the result of major droughts. Recent human-induced turning points in ecosystem functioning were uncovered around Volgograd (Russia) and around Lake Balkhash (Kazakhstan), attributed to recultivation, increased salinisation, and increased grazing.
Many studies showed that these projects generally played an active role in combating desertification and fighting against dust storms in China over the past several decades (high confidence) (Cao et al. 2018; State Forestry Administration of China 2015; Wang et al. 20131573; Wang et al. 20141574; Yang et al. 20131576). At the beginning of the projects, some problems appeared in some places due to lack of enough knowledge and experience (low confidence) (Jiang 20161578; Wang et al. 20101579). For example, some tree species selected were not well suited to local soil and climatic conditions (Zhu et al. 2007), and there was inadequate consideration of the limitation of the amount of available water on the carrying capacity of trees in some arid regions (Dai 2011; Feng et al. 20161580) (Section 3.6.4). In addition, at the beginning of the projects, there was an inadequate consideration of the effects of climate change on combating desertification (Feng et al. 20151581; Tan and Li 2015). Indeed, climate change and human activities over past years have influenced the desertification and dust storm control effects in China (Feng et al. 20151582; Wang et al. 20091583; Tan and Li 2015), and future climate change will bring new challenges for combating desertification in China (Wang et al. 20171584; Yin et al. 2015; Xu et al. 2019). In particular, the desertification risk in China will be enhanced at 2C compared to 1.5C global temperature rise (Ma et al. 2018). Adapting desertification control to climate change involves: improving the adaptation capacity to climate change for afforestation and grassland management by executing SLM practices; optimising the agricultural and animal husbandry structure; and using big data to meet the water resources regulation (Zhang and Huisingh 20181588). In particular, improving scientific and technological supports in desertification control is crucial for adaptation to climate change and combating desertification, including protecting vegetation in desertification-prone lands by planting indigenous plant species, facilitating natural restoration of vegetation to conserve biodiversity, employing artificial rain or snow, water-saving irrigation and water storage technologies (Jin et al. 2014; Yang et al. 20131589).
The choice of woody and herbaceous species that will be used to restore degraded ecosystems is based on biophysical and socio-economic criteria, including socio-economic value (food, pastoral, commercial, energetic, medicinal, cultural); ecological importance (carbon sequestration, soil cover, water infiltration); and resilience to climate change and variability. The Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) was created in 2010 under the auspices of the African Union and CEN-SAD to manage the project. The initiative is implemented at the level of each country by a national structure. A monitoring and evaluation system has been defined, allowing nations to measure outcomes and to propose the necessary adjustments.