Land, as viewed here, is a composite of the various elements of the Earth’s physical, biological, and chemical systems which directly or indirectly affect human wellbeing. Degraded land, consequently, is that in which significant change has occurred to any or all of these systems and in turn which adversely affects the human condition. Humans generally include under resources important to sustain their well being such items as productive soil, abundant clean water, a wide variety of trees and plants, wildlife, beneficial insects and soil organisms, and clean air. This complex system of land, water, plants, animals and air is the world in which we live.
Walter E. Parham, Ph.D., University of Illinois in geology/clay mineralogy; past affiliations: U.S. Army, Okinawa; Assistant Geologist, Illinois State Geological Survey; Associate Professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Minnesota Geological Survey, University of Minnesota; Physical Science Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State; and Program Manager for Food and Renewable Resources, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment; Director, China Tropical Lands Research, Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C., Research Fellow, Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University; Honorary Professor, Zhuhai Agricultural Science and Research Centre; Research Associate, Botanical Research Institute of Texas; Research Associate, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Honorary Fellow, Kadoorie Institute, University of Hong Kong.
His work in Hong Kong/Macau/China extends some 40 years part time. Current affiliation: Honorary Professor, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China. His research and teaching focus: clay mineralogy; environmental geology; renewable resource management and policy in tropical developing countries. Research in Hong Kong/Macau/China and on developing countries supported by: the Graduate School, and the Office of International Programs, University of Minnesota; American Cancer Society; Alfred E. Sloan Foundation; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; The International Foundation; and the Guangdong Natural Science Foundation.