Desertification is a process in which it turns a productive land into a non-productive desert as a result of poor land management. This mostly occurs in semi-arid areas bordering on deserts.
What causes Desertification?
One of the major reasons which cause desertification is overgrazing. Plants of semi-arid areas are adapted to being eaten by sparsely scattered, large, grazing mammals which move in response to the patchy rainfall common to these regions. In the prehistoric era before the modern industry bloomed, pastoralists living in the semi-arid vicinities replicated this natural process. This was done by moving their small groups of domestic animals in response to food and water availability. Due to regular stock movement prevented overgrazing of the fragile plant cover.
In today’s era, people are more than the land which is provided for their settlement. More demand for wood and household has caused deforestation which later turns the land lifeless and desertification takes place. Now days we use fences to prevent domestic and wild animals from moving in response to food availability and overgrazing had often resulted. When used correctly fencing can help in veld management.
Boreholes and windmills also allow livestock to stay throughout, mostly a year in those areas which are formerly grazed only during rainfalls when seasonal; pans hold water. If this is not correctly planned and regulated, provision of durable water has caused massive advance of deserts in recent years as animals gather around waterholes and overgraze the area.
Points about Desertification
- The land is no longer fertilized, which means growing crops or plants in such an area is almost close to impossible. The cultivation of the marginal land is not dependable.
- Poor grazing management after accidental burning of semi- arid vegetation.
- There is a risk of salinization if an incorrect irrigation practice is practiced in the arid land, which can lead to prevention of growth of plants and crops.
When the pointers above coincide with drought, the rate of desertification increases rapidly. Not only that but the increase in population and demand for wood and other demands related to its existence evade inevitably, causes desertification to become more common than before. Desertification reduces the ability of land to support life on it. Which in return affects the wild species and people living in such habitats, less plants means less chances of us obtaining clean air which means more diseases would prevail within the atmosphere.