International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Facilitating Learning to Combat Desertification

Mohammad Sadegh Allahyari1 &  Mohammad Chizari 2

1 Department of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University-Rasht Branch, Iran
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2 Agricultural Extension & Education Department, College of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran
Corresponding Author: Head of Agricultural Extension & Education Department
Prof. Dr. Mohammad Chizari
phone:  011-98-21-2589847


Nowadays, more than one third of total world lands are exposed to severe erosion, and every year 5 to 7 millions hectares of good farming lands due to lack of appropriate management, use of inappropriate farming practices, excessive pasturing and etc, as a result of erosion and degradation are annihilated. During the last century, about 2000 million hectares of lands as a result of erosion is annihilated .this problem led to the main apprehension of man in present time, meaning that nourishment and food security faces to the worst situation.
It seemed that desertification a part from being a natural process, is a problem with complicated dimensions who's causing factor and ultimate victim is man.
If we consider the soil as one of the component of the agro-ecosystems, its conservation as similar as other components of agro-ecosystem is essential to achieve sustainable agriculture. the question is raised here, is that if we have to consider the soil conservation at the farm level or at the higher levels of ecosystem .therefore, in desertification discussion, we have to consider all of these levels .several case studies indicated that achieving to sustainable agriculture requires changes, not only at the farm level, but also at the higher levels of agro-ecosystem, such as: watersheds, biotopes and landscapes. Transforming to sustainable agriculture has five interlocking dimensions: agricultural practices, both at the farm and higher system levels
º learning those practices º facilitating those learning º institutional frameworks that support such facilitating and conducive policy frameworks. In fact, these five components constitute sustainable agriculture knowledge system. We are going to examine sustainability (combating desertification) from soft systems point of view, because of sustainability is an emergent property of a soft system and it is outcome of the collective decision – making that arises from interaction among stakeholders. Stakeholders are identified here as natural resource users and managers. The conditions to combat desertification (sustainable agriculture) are created in socio – sphere, through policy. Institutional and behavioral change .these conditions in socio – sphere called sustainable agriculture knowledge system. Enhancing human development index is in the rank of reducing desertification and in this way, extension has an essential role. The purpose of this paper is to examine role of learning as a social mechanism to facilitating learning from constructivism point of view, because of learning toward sustainability is different from conventional agriculture. This paper examine those extensional methods that now day's are used to move toward sustainability in participatory paradigms.