Desertification Definition

by Laurent Cousineau
(Montreal)

Desertification is an effect of climate change

Desertification is an effect of climate change

Desertification is the degradation of land that could be used for agriculture or habitats, and is one of the most important environmental problems we are facing today.

It is categorized by a diminishing groundwater table, increasing erosion, the disappearance of native vegetation, a decrease in surface water, and a salt build-up in water and topsoil (the upper fertile layer of soil, from which plant roots take nutrients).

Where Does it Occur?

Often, it occurs in arid or semi-arid environments and consists of long-term changes to plant life, vegetation and soil.

Desertification should not be confused with droughts which have only short-term effects (but may also be a cause of the former).

The Causes of Desertification

Desertification is primarily an effect of climate change, and human activities namely:
  • Overgrazing in pastures
  • Over cropping (often done for exports)
  • Deforestation
  • Poorly managed irrigation systems (this leads to salinization, a build-up of mineral salts in the soil)
  • Exhaustion of water supplies for industrial use

The Effects of Desertification

In turn, desertification will have several effects including:
  • Famine
  • Wars for natural resources
  • Mass migration
  • Reduction of biodiversity
  • Increased risk of droughts and flooding
  • In some cases, barren land that are beyond restoration (permanent damage to soil)

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Jun 23, 2015
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Desertificación
by: Erick Garavito

Respecto a la desertificación tenemos clara evidencia de la llegada de arena del desierto del Sahara a Centro América, es curioso la gran distancia que viajo la arena hasta llegar ha esta región que nunca se habían emitido alertas de precaución para las personas susceptibles a la polución. Se puede decir que esto es parte del cambio climático... que el desierto ha estado aumentando de área... o es solo algo al azar por las condiciones climáticas imperantes de la época en esta región ya que se esta bajo efectos de el fenómeno de El Niño. Gracias.

Nov 24, 2013
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desertification
by: Anonymous

:( scary indeed. We take steps at our level, and push and vote for the leaders that will do the same. Now if everyone did it, we'd be golden.

Jan 05, 2013
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buac
by: rilyn grace

Thanks, this really helps!

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