| By S. Batterbury and A. Bebbington | Published in Land Degradation and Development, vol. 10 (4): 279-288 |

Abstract: This paper forms the introduction to a special issue of this journal entitled ‘Environmental Histories, Access to Resources and Landscape Change’, that poses challenges to the ways in which the multiple dimensions of resource degradation are understood, analyzed and acted upon in developing countries. The paper outlines a framework for understanding the complexity of land degradation processes, their impacts, and offers insights into their remediation. The framework builds on the work of regional political ecologists. It involves a widened conception of resource degradation; an explicit awareness of layered scales of analysis in both time and space; an emphasis on the mechanisms structuring and determining patterns of access to a range of resources that influence the use of the natural environment; an engagement with environmental history; and a sensitivity to the relevance and application of research effort.