OVERVIEWo What is it?o Regions affected by desertificationo Causeso Impactso Indian scenarioo Summary
What is Desertification• Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climate variations and human activities.
The process through which a desert takesover a formerly non-desert area. When aregion begins to undergo desertification, thenew conditions typically include a significantlylowered water table, a reduced supply ofsurface water, increased salinity in naturalwaters and soils, progressive destruction ofnative vegetation, and an accelerated rate oferosion.
Estimates of percentage of humanactions causing desertification are:overgrazing (35%),Deforestation (30%),other agricultural activities (28%),overexploitation of fuel wood (7%),and bioindustrial activities (1%)Human impacts can exacerbate butnot initiate desertification
Climatic Effects• Natural global cycles of dry and rain• Change over significant amounts of time• Not induced by human actions, but can work in combination with them.
IMPACTS:ECONOMICAL Loss of fertility and productivity in soils In China alone, about $6.5 billionannually islost to the effects of desertification Worldwide $300-600 billion lostannually Since 1985, Kazakhstan has lost12.5 millionacres of grain-growing land. Benefits of prevention andrestoration are 2.5xgreater than allowing desertification tocontinue.
IMPACTS: HUMANDesert lands are inhospitable,sometimes uninhabitable. 2/3 of arable land in Africa atrisk. Loss of arable land meansincreased poverty, famine. Food insecurity leads to more environmentalrefugees and displaced persons, more forcedmigrations. People are important, too.
As local humanpopulations haveincreased, theirescalating food needshave lengthened thecultivation period.Grain crops are nowplanted longer intothe dry seasonpreventing trees andgrasses fromreproducing as theydid in the past. Muchof the land has
INDIAN SCENARIO"In India, the problem of Desertification is recurrent withvisible evidence of its ravages in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpurand Bikaner districts.According to a recent estimate by Govt. of India, 32. 7 percent of the countrys land is affected by differentdegradation processes.Arid areas in our country experience an annual rainfallbetween 100 and 400 mm with a very high coefficient ofvariation ranging from 40 to 70 per cent.Low and erratic rainfall coupled with extreme temperaturesand intense solar radiation (200-600 cal cm2 day 1) resultsin frequent crop failures and considerably affects theagricultural economy in the region.
HOW TO PREVENT DESERIFICATION?-Integrating land and water management to protect soils fromerosion, salinization, and other forms of degradation,-Protecting the vegetative cover, which can be a major instrumentfor soil conservation against wind and water erosion.-Integrating the use of land for grazing and farming whereconditions are favourable , allowing for a more efficient cyclingof nutrients within the agricultural systems.-Applying a combination of traditional practices with locallyacceptable and locally adapted land use technologies.
-Giving local communities the capacity toprevent desertification and to manage dryland resourceseffectively.-Turning to alternative livelihoods that do not depend ontraditional land uses, such as drylandaquaculture,greenhouse agriculture and tourism-related activities, isless demanding on local land and natural resources, and yetprovides sustainable income.-Creating economic opportunities in dryland urban centersand in areas outside of drylands.
SUMMARYDesertification is a growing worldwideproblemthat impacts a huge percentage of the world’spopulation. The economic cost of desertification is inthemany hundreds of billions of dollars. Desertification can be slowed and evenreversed by re-vegetation, waterconservation,livestock management and wise agriculturalmethods.