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  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Environmental Change is an extensive survey of the interdisciplinary science of environmental change that examines the historic importance and future development of the field over two volumes. With over 40 chapters, the books situate key arguments and debates by examining a retrospective audit of the discipline, its changing nature and diversity of approaches, key theoretical paradigms, its resonances between sub-fields and other disciplines, and its relationships to theory, research and practice. Global in its coverage, scientific and theoretical in its approach, the books bring together an international set of respected editors and contributors to provide an exciting, timely addition to the literature on climate change.

Environmental Change in the Arid and Semi-Arid Regions
Environmental change in the arid and semi-arid regions
XiaopingYang
1 Introduction

Arid and semi-arid regions are of great significance for understanding the Earth system because they occupy a large portion of its surface. In addition, desertification is one of the major environmental issues threatening many dryland regions of the world. Thus, research on past environmental change in these areas may provide critical insights into the causes of past ecosystem fluctuations, which may aid in the interpretation of contemporary processes. The recognition of climate change in arid regions of western China (Richthofen, 1877) was one of the earliest reports on Quaternary climatic instability; it predates even the landmark publications on Quaternary glaciation in the Alps (Penck and Bruckner, 1909). Indeed, arid ...

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