We are wrong about desertification (Google / Agriit Institute)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


How to combat desertification and the effects of climate change while feeding people

Rubanzayo Wa Mpiira

We live in a world where two thirds of its land is turning into a desert (most of this proportion has already turned into desert) and the world has to feed an increasing number of mouths that are growing towards 10 billion.

Fossil fuels – carbon, coal and gas – are by no means the only thing that is causing climate change and desertification. Desertification occurs only when we create too much bare ground. When rain falls on a bare ground, some of it keeps on the ground as flood while the remainder soaks into the soil. But because the ground is bare, water evaporates as fast as possible and the soil also releases carbon into the atmosphere.

We are told over and over repeatedly that desertification is occurring only in arid and semi-arid places of the world. We are also told that desertification is caused by livestock mostly cattle, sheep and goats overgrazing the plants, leaving the soil bare and giving out methane. Almost everybody knows this from the most illiterate persons to the Nobel laureates. Well, just like we were just as certain that the world was flat, we were wrong then and we are wrong now.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.