Blowing sand and dust are increasingly common hazards associated with dryland urbanization, largely because of the disruption of desert soils by human activity. This paper reviews the characteristics and problems of moving sand and dust and discusses how the four main methods of analysis—remotely sensed imagery, meteorological data, geomorphological mapping and process monitoring—can be integrated so as to provide the basis for well informed management strategies. This is exemplified by description of a recent survey for a town referred to as ‘Alfa’, which involved an unusual methodology heavily dependent on the collection of information on ground conditions by means of geomorphological mapping. The resultant integration of data on erodibility (sand and dust supply potentials) and erosivity (potentials for wind transport using meterological records) provided a good framework for focusing attention on those topographic/sediment units posing the greatest potential hazard and therefore requiring the most careful management. The new methodologies put forward in this paper are considered to be potentially applicable in a wide variety of dryland environments and to be worthy of further development and refinement.

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