17 Desertification Facts: Learn About What We Can Do To Stop It! | Kidadl


17 Desertification Facts: Learn About What We Can Do To Stop It!

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Desertification is the persistent degradation of land, a process that increases the aridity of the soil. 

There are two major causes of desertification: human activities and climatic variations. The changing constitution of land has affected the entire ecosystem in areas where desertification is prevalent, by erasing the wildlife and vegetation, and drying up the water bodies.

Desertification has resulted in arid infertile lands, which leads to poverty, deforestation, and unhealthy irrigation practices. According to experts, inappropriate agricultural practices, drought, and deforestation majorly contributing to this problem.

Did you know that almost three-quarters of the Earth have been altered by humans to fulfill their ever-growing demand for food, homes, and raw materials? This has caused productive land and natural ecosystems to turn into deserted lands.

Desertification and Drought Day observed on June 17, 2021, brought to light the mounting need for restoring degraded land to healthy land.

Causes Of Desertification

Desertification occurs when fertile land becomes dry and unstable. Check out these significant causes of desertification.

Desertification is caused due to climate change and human activities.

Arid and semi-arid areas are characterized by very little rainfall. Such climatic variations can lead to extended droughts, which can reduce the biological productivity of the area and cause desertification.

Poor land management in urban areas and deforestation are also prime contributors of desertification.

Over drafting of groundwater, that is, pumping excessive water from underground aquifers, is another risk factor.

The removal of trees and plants, as well as intensive farming that exhausts fertile soil, may also result in degraded land.

Lastly, rapid population growth, extreme weather conditions, excessive heat, and animal overgrazing can lead to desertification.

Consequences Of Desertification

The desertification of dry lands can have grave consequences. Here are some of the common issues that result from desertification.

Desertification worsens the living condition of many species, and it can lead to loss of biodiversity.

Desertification makes farming next to impossible.

This lack of farming in degraded land can lead to a decrease in crop yields and food security.

Desertification can result in food shortages and hunger problems.

Food shortages also impact animals and increase poverty.

Desertification also results in water scarcity.

Without life and plants in an area, flooding is likely to become much more of a risk.

Not all existing deserts are dry. Some that are wet may experience many floods, as there is nothing to stop the water from going all over the place.

Another major consequence of desertification is that it increases the risk of zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19.

Desertification has resulted in arid infertile lands

What can we do to help?

There are plenty of ways to stop land degradation and boost sustainable land practices.

Using effective land and water management techniques to safeguard soils can prevent soil erosion and land degradation.

Safeguarding vegetative cover can help to conserve soil against water erosion and dust storms.

Improving the quality of soil by controlling animal grazing can help. We can also boost diverse vegetative coverage, and add organic plant and animal manure to the soil to preserve its quality.

Using modern methods of agriculture to increase the production of crops without impacting the soil can also help.

The use of magic stones or bunds can also decrease desertification. Circles of stones are placed on the ground to hold water and soil together and to prevent erosion by strong winds.

Drip irrigation is a technique where water slowly drips onto the ground from pea-sized holes into a hose lying on top of the soil. This reduces water loss and improves soil quality.


What is interesting about desertification?

Desertification is a major problem. However, it can be reversed. Certain steps taken at a global level can combat desertification and fight biodiversity loss and global climate change.

What are three human causes of desertification?

Three human causes of desertification include deforestation, poor irrigation practices, and intensive use of agricultural lands.

How does desertification affect the world?

Desertification has a major impact on health. It increases the risk of malnutrition, poverty, water scarcity, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and environmental imbalance at large.

How much land is lost to desertification each year?

Each year, 75 billion tons of healthy soil is lost to land degradation.

What are the causes of desertification?

The primary causes of desertification include over-cropping, climate change, unsustainable irrigation practices, over-grazing, deforestation, poor land management, and a high population.

Where is desertification happening?

Desertification is primarily happening in the grasslands of East Africa, the Sahara Desert, and the Kalahari Desert.

What causes desertification in Africa?

Bad agricultural practices are among the major factors leading to desertification in Africa. Other than that, overgrazing, lack of adequate land management practices, and widespread bushfires are also contributing to this form of land degradation.

Where is desertification likely to occur?

Desertification is most likely to occur in arid and semi-arid zones, and also in dry sub-humid areas.

Why is desertification bad?

Desertification makes it impossible for plants and animals to live.

How does drought cause desertification?

Drought reduces the water soil content, and that leads to desertification.

Who is affected by desertification?

Humans, animals, and many plant species are affected by desertification.

Kidadl Team
Written By
Kidadl Team

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