Desertification: causes and effects


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Causes and Effects of Desertification

Desertification is the process by which fertile land is transformed into desert as it becomes progressively drier and drier. 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.

Such desertification is having major impacts in many places on our planet today, and is expected to impact humanity even more so in the future as we experience an increase in human population, and as our planet faces increasing scarcity of natural resources such as clean water.

The following are many of the primary causes and effects of desertification in our world.
Causes of Desertification

  1. Overgrazing. In arid regions, grass and other vegetation is necessary to keep the soil in place. If the vegetation is overgrazed by livestock, there is nothing that remains to prevent soil from blowing or washing away, and if this process occurs long enough, it can lead to desertification.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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