Without farms in these areas, the food that those farms produce will become much scarcer, and the people who live in those local areas will be a lot more likely to try and deal with hunger problems. Advancements could help us find more ways to prevent the issue from becoming an epidemic. The future is already in place. People have been always on the lookout for fertile lands where they can build their settlements and prosper over long time periods. This process can happen due to a number of reasons, but much of the desertification that is occurring around the world today is caused by human activity, such as deforestation or improper agricultural methods. The situation in Mongolia is alarming, particularly because this land degradation has taken place just recently. For example, the destruction of the native tropical forest in the Indus Valley opened up a pathway for the desert to claim more and more land, leading to the doom of the Harrapan Civilization. All Rights Reserved . Conserve Energy Future. When the trees and other vegetation in an area are gone, there are no roots that would hold soils in place, there is no canopy that would shield the ground from the direct rainfall or from the sun’s heat. In many cases, increased water runoff from desertified areas wreaks havoc on neighboring lands, eroding soils, damaging vegetation and making soils extremely vulnerable to encroaching desert. Causes and effects of drought: During dry and hot weather periods, ... desertification sets in. As the days get warmer and periods of drought become more frequent, desertification becomes more and more eminent. And what’s more, without trees, even the local climate becomes drier due to the lack of water evapotranspiration from tree canopy, which reduces cloud formation in the region and results in less rain. When people gather and keep too many animals in one area, grasses start dying because their roots are often weakened by animals constantly stepping on them and plucking out newly re-growing parts before plants have time to grow resistant enough and to multiply. Lack of water to support farming and desert sands encroaching villages are already causing trouble to rice farmers throughout the regions of northern China. Others include “changes in vegetation cover, surface albedo (reflectivity of the Earth’s surface), and greenhouse gases fluxes”, she adds. In many instances, these people go to larger cities, hoping for better life by finding a new livelihood. Desertification is a huge problem that needs to be addressed accordingly, and if we take the time to do it now, we can prevent other problems from happening with it in the future. They can also affect the formation and lifetimes of clouds, potentially making rainfall less likelya… Desertification often leads to a loss of habitats for many animals and plants. Unable to grow crops, farmers had to leave their villages in search of better lands. We already have the statistics for the future: the growth percentages of pollution, overpopulation, desertification. Other factors that cause desertification include urbanization, climate change, overuse of groundwater, deforestation, natural disasters, and tillage practices in agriculture that make soils more vulnerable to wind. The cause may vary from region to region on account of economic conditions, population pressure, agricultural practices, and … There have been numerous cases when overgrazed areas of land became severely damaged. We are a couple of environmentalists who seek inspiration for life in simple values based on our love for nature. Because of ambitious cotton farming projects in the dry Aral Sea basin that needed irrigation. With significantly reduced rainfall, drought occurs and triggers problems such as failing harvests, drying creeks and boreholes, poor pasture that weakens livestock, and more frequent outbreaks of wildfires that destroy remaining vegetation. The acts of compaction and erosion as a result of overgrazing can cause tremendous land degradation. Over drafting is the process in which groundwater is extracted in excess of the equilibrium yield of the aquifer that is pumping or the excessive pulling up of groundwater from underground aquifers. Desertification is a process of degradation of the land. In those cases, there needs to be research and application of the latest technology that pushes the limits of what we currently know about the drivers of desertification. Lands turn to desert due to a number of reasons, but much of the desertification that is occurring around the world today is caused by human activity on lands that are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and improper agricultural methods. The official definition by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) that has been widely used since it’s formulation in 1994 is: “desertification is land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic fluctuations and human activities.” UNCCD also highlights that it is important to note that desertification is not a natural process of deserts expanding to new regions, it is a form of land degradation caused primarily by human activity in vulnerable areas. As areas become more urbanized, there are fewer places for plants to grow, thus causing desertification. According to expert opinions from FAO and UN, this high level of land loss to desertification is what has triggered a civil war in the country. Keep reading to learn more about the causes and effects of desertification as well as the best methods for bringing it to a halt. This is caused, and acts in concert with, a number of other factors — including drought, overgrazing, deforestation, common agricultural practices, and changes in the climate. The Eurocentric view of … Unlike the natural desert ecosystem with well-adapted species still inhabiting the area, desertified lands are often devoid of natural life without a healthy ecosystem in place that would perform life-supporting services, like new soil formation and nutrient cycling. As “harsh” as this may sound, the reason is very simple. In dry regions, grass and other small vegetation is necessary to keep the soil in place to prevent erosion and further damage to the soil. It is these problems that pressure people to slip into the vicious cycle of repeating all the previously listed causes of desertification–actions which naturally open up the door to the ecological catastrophe of irreversible land degradation. This can cost a lot of money to try and do, so many farmers will have to sell their land and leave the desert areas. A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. WMO also coordinates the efforts of Members for drought preparedness and teaches them how to stop desertification caused by droughts. This list of causes and impacts of desertification is just a brief fraction of the whole scope of such an extensive problem taking place on our lands every day. The reason is simple, people lost their ability to grow food, water resources became scarce and their animals got weak from not having enough to eat. Not many people realize this when walking on the streets of their city or some magnificent tourist resort, but in order to build these structures, original ecosystems had to be irreversibly wiped out. Not all deserts are dry; those that are wet could experience a lot of flooding because there is nothing to stop the water from gathering and going all over the place. 30 million acres) more turn into barren deserts every year [1,2]. With a changing ecosystem, species must adapt to their new climate or migrate to a more favorable climate. And when you think about it, it’s just a natural reaction of any living organism to survive – “fight or flight.”. Conflict over land also increases. Unfortunately, due to the unsustainable water management of diverting water to rice paddies, soil salinity has increased, forcing farmers to use high amounts of fertilizer to save their harvest. #1 Overgrazing Overgrazing and desertification have been always closely linked together. Loose soil buries plants or exposes their roots to the sun, so they cannot fulfill their function. All of the issues that we’ve talked about above (related to the problem of desertification) can lead to poverty if it is not kept in check. What remains left is only a lifeless pile of dust instead of a life-giving medium. It occurs because of man-made activities and climate change. This is because plant life plays a significant role in keeping the water clean and clear; without its presence, it becomes a lot more difficult for you to be able to do that. That doesn’t sounds like such a bright future, does it? Boko Haram is believed to constitute of young people deprived of livelihood possibilities due to constant disputes over disappearing water among diverse ethnic groups, inhabiting the area . Extended droughts, prolonged flooding or sudden extreme changes in temperature can deplete food sources of species causing starvation. There have been many records of water scarcity and pollution problems that are linked to desertification or other forms of land degradation across dry African and Asian countries. Overgrazing is the major cause of desertification worldwide. Deforestation is one of the leading human causes of desertification. Thus to fulfill our demand, we have to optimize our farming processes to harvest even higher crop yields. These include things like climate change, deforestation, and overexploitation of soil by farming . Unfortunately, outcomes of their compromised livelihoods are often poor land use practices, such as grazing animals on eroding lands, illegal cutting of forests and unsustainable crop cultivation, which only contribute to the soil destruction beyond repair and put lives of people even more in danger. Deserts And Desertification The Causes And Consequences 1. If their land becomes arid, they may no longer be able to provide sufficient crop yields to make a living out of it. 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