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GOBI DESERT, China- It has been predicted that the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought may expose almost two-thirds of the world’s population to increased water stress by 2025. This will have a critical impact on agricultural production and contribute to soaring food prices and shortages worldwide. This is one of the reasons that some people living in dry lands are the poorest in the world.
Desertification is considered as one of the world’s most alarming global environmental problems. It is also the primary cause of environmentally induced displacement in many regions of the world. The term “desertification” has been in use since 1949, when French ecologist and botanists Andre Aubreville published a book entitled “Climate, Forets et Desertification de l’Afrique Tropicale.” He defined desertification as “the changing of productive land into a desert as the result of ruination of land by man-induced soil erosion.”
According to many estimates, desertification affects at least 135 million to 250 million people worldwide. However, some scientists argue that only in China does the problem of desertification concerns more than 400 million people. Primary areas of the world that are affected by desertification are the Sahel region as well as Southern Africa (the Kalahari Desert,) China (the Gobi Desert) and Latin America.
Many estimations also show that 70 percent of African land is already degraded to some degree and land degradation affects at least 485 million people or sixty-seventy percent of the entire African population. (United Nations.)