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Land degradation and desertification

We believe that the extremely important problem of detrimental environmental change represents a major challenge and opportunity for human factors research and that such research has something of value to contribute, especially when it is directed to the question of how technology might be developed so as to serve its human purposes without affording the means of environmental degradation.

In what follows, we suggest a few specific research questions that we believe deserve attention from the human factors community. We focus primarily on problems that fit reasonably well within human factors, as defined by the work that has traditionally been done in this field. The possibilities become more numerous when one considers problems that fall within the domain of applied psychology, broadly defined.

We offer our suggestions not as an agenda for research but as points of departure for further discussion. The most pressing need in this area is for human factors researchers who are concerned about environmental change to begin exchanging ideas about the problem and how the human factors profession might help address it. We believe that such discussion would identify many ways in which the community can productively involve itself in this important area.Page 164