How does agriculture cause desertification


The main cause of desertification is agriculture. Overgrazing by livestock causes soil to lose its organic matter and become vulnerable to erosion. The overuse of pesticides and fertilizers contributes to soil degradation.

The role of agriculture in desertification. One of the most important causes of desertification, especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, is improper activities in agriculture. Dense and improper cultivation of crops reduce soil structure stability and lead to soil degradation and erosion [28].


What are the effects of desertification on agriculture?

The main cause of desertification is agriculture. Overgrazing by livestock causes soil to lose its organic matter and become vulnerable to erosion. The overuse of pesticides and fertilizers contributes to soil degradation. Climate change can also play a role: increasing temperatures can cause the soil’s moisture level to fluctuate, which can lead to both drought and flood damage.

What is the main cause of desertification in Africa?

 · A variety of industries cause deforestation either directly or indirectly, but the main driver is animal agriculture. Close behind are logging and infrastructural expansion. Natural forms of deforestation do exist, like forest fires and invasive species, but they are often exacerbated by human involvement. Logging

What is the process of desertification?

Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification. Yet, agriculture itself can …


What agricultural practices cause desertification?

For pasture lands, livestock overgrazing is the main cause of desertification; removal of vegetation directly by humans for agriculture and other purposes has caused most of the desertification in rain-fed lands; incorrect irrigation practice is responsible for the degradation of most irrigated lands.

What is desertification and how is it caused on agricultural land?

It is also caused by human activities that pollute or degrade the quality of soils and land utility. It negatively affects food production, livelihoods, and the production and provision of other ecosystem goods and services. Desertification is a form of land degradation by which fertile land becomes desert.

Can farming create desertification?

Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification.

What are the 3 main causes of desertification?

The main causes of desertification include:Population growth – the population in some desert areas is increasing. … Removal of wood – in developing countries, people use wood for cooking. … Overgrazing – an increasing population results in larger desert areas being farmed.More items…

How does agriculture cause deforestation?

Cattle ranching, animal agriculture, and logging are the leading causes of deforestation in our forests. The forest is cut to provide timber to build houses and create specialty wood products, or burned to make room for cattle grazing and feed crop production.

How does human activity affect desertification?

If farmers use too much water or use water inefficiently, they will reduce the overall water supply in the area. This can lead to vegetation loss and eventually desertification. Overgrazing and deforestation are two additional human activities that can lead to desertification.

Can grazing lead to desertification?

When livestock eat plants down to the roots, the plants grow short, unsustainable roots and eventually, the plants will stop growing altogether. This leaves large open areas with no vegetation where the soil is exposed to the elements.

Does overgrazing cause desertification?

Overgrazing reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land and is one cause of desertification and erosion. Overgrazing is also seen as a cause of the spread of invasive species of non-native plants and of weeds.

How is desertification formed?

In general, desertification is caused by variations in climate and by unsustainable land-management practices in dryland environments. By their very nature, arid and semiarid ecosystems are characterized by sparse or variable rainfall.

How does irrigation cause desertification?

Irrigation can cause environmental problems such as waterlogging, salinization, water pollution, eutrophication, and excessive groundwater use. On the whole, irrigation has had a strong impact on inland waters, causing a decline in biodiversity and further desertification.

How people’s use of land can cause desertification?

Human activities that contribute to desertification include the expansion and intensive use of agricultural lands, poor irrigation practices, deforestation, and overgrazing. These unsustainable land uses place enormous pressure on the land by altering its soil chemistry and hydrology.

What is the cause and effect of desertification?

Human activities, including deforestation and the overexploitation of aquifers, accelerate desertification. The effects of climate change, which is also driven by humans, and the destruction it causes in the form of extreme weather phenomena such as droughts, hurricanes, fires, etc.

Why are desert soils unproductive?

Desertification is the progressive transformation of land into a desert. A third of the world’s land surface is in jeopardy. Soil erosion exposes soil, allowing wind and water to easily take it. Soil nutrients are lost, rendering the soil unproductive. The only thing growing in some desert areas is the dust itself.

What is desertification in Africa?

Desertification is defined as “land deterioration in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid environments caused by a variety of variables such as weather fluctuations and human activity.” About 46 percent of Africa is affected by desertification processes.

How do humans create deserts?

A complicated mix of variables is causing desertification, or land degradation, across vast swaths of dry land. Human activities such as overgrazing and fuel harvesting have destroyed or significantly decreased plant cover in many regions, and soils are eroding at an accelerated rate.

What is the difference between desertification and drought?

Drought is a natural phenomena that occurs when a region receives no water and becomes desolate and devoid of vegetation. Desertification is the process of converting productive fertile land into non-productive land, and in severe situations, the drylands are desertified. The two main causes of desertification are human activity and climate change.

What are the causes of crop extinction?

Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change, which is a leading cause of crop extinction. If our forests continue to vanish and release greenhouse gases into the air, crops like coffee, tea, avocados, chocolate, and bananas could be largely lost in our lifetime.

What are the causes of deforestation?

Cattle ranching, animal agriculture, and logging are the leading causes of deforestation in our forests. The forest is cut to provide timber to build houses and create specialty wood products, or burned to make room for cattle grazing and feed crop production. This constant destruction of our forests threatens biodiversity, …

Which countries are affected by deforestation?

Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana make up the Amazon basin which is where the Amazon rainforest grows. Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru have been hit the hardest by deforestation due to excessive logging, agriculture, and cattle production.

What are the animals that are being displaced by deforestation?

Sumatran rainforests, which are home to most of the world’s orangutans, are being ravaged for palm oil and paper products. Rhinos, tigers, and gorillas are being displaced by deforestation and illegally poached in Asia and Africa.

How does deforestation affect soil?

Deforestation removes vegetation, which anchors soil in place. Without enough trees, soil is vulnerable to erosion and nutrient loss. The absence of roots causes topsoil to easily wash or blow away, leading to decreased soil quality and increased landslides. It’s estimated that a third of the world’s arable land has been lost to soil erosion and degradation since 1960. Once land is cleared and roots are ripped away, cash crops like coffee and soy are planted which can make erosion worse, since their roots cannot anchor into the soil like those of a tree.

What are the animals that are threatened by deforestation?

Human-induced destruction is a major contributor to habitat loss for plant and animal species, especially in our rainforests. Jaguars, sloths, bonobos, and orangutans are just some of the better-known animals threatened by deforestation.

How does the construction of roads affect the Amazon rainforest?

The construction of roads throughout forests, especially the Amazon rainforest, increases the probability of animal deaths caused by loss of habitat and motor accidents. New roads make the process of illegal logging and poaching more convenient as well. Infrastructural expansion not only displaces animals and increases the risk of deforestation, it also encroaches on local residents’ homes and livelihoods.

What are the causes of desertification?

Desertification involves many environmental and socio-economic aspects. It has many causes and triggers many consequences. A major cause is unsustainable agriculture, a major consequence is the threat to food production. this two-way reTo fully lationship requires comprehend to understand how agriculture affects land quality, what risks land degradation poses for agricultural production and to what extent a change in agricultural practices can reverse the trend. Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification. Yet, agriculture itself can provide solutions to land degradation.

How did desertification occur?

Desertification is not a recent phenomenon; it was triggered thousands of years ago among other things by human-led alterations of the environment that made it possible and to produce food domesticate the living space. Yet, in its present shape it might be more extreme than in previous times, because modern human activities have a stronger effect on already degraded land. uman H activities that can favour desertification are unsustainable farm practices ( overgrazing, the excessive use of chemicals and mechanisation, heavy ) industry and mining, deforestation, overexploitation and contamination of water and other natural resources, urbanisation and increase in artificial surfaces, etc. The loss of soil properties can produce poverty and force people to abandon their impoverished land. Political instability, migration and conflicts are o ften common trait s of countries and regions affected by desertification All these elements participate in a

What are the conditions that signal whenever a certain ecosystem has moved to a degraded state?

Researchers have identified the conditions that signal whenever a certain ecosystem has moved to a degraded state; such conditions involve, for instance, loss of plant cover or soil that loses its capacity to store water and retain nutrients. Such a state can be reached through a process of

What is the term for the accumulation of salts in the soil?

salinisation and sodification (accumulation of salts in the soil) or soil compaction (increased soil density as a result of compressed soil particles and reduced air volume).

What are the threats to the soil ecosystem?

the detachment and transport of soil from its original location. I n many regions of the world , soil erosion represents the greatest threat to soil health and soil ecosystem servicesThe three main types. of soil erosion are water, wind and tillage, with human-induced erosion happening at a higher pace. Moreover, natural phenomen a, such as heavy rain or strong wind, have more severe consequences on soils already depleted by human activities. Besides soil erosion and desertification, soil threats include other types of soil

What is the role of soil in agriculture?

key messages soils exist with diverse properties.on soils of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlight their strategic role in producing healthy food, feed, fibre, fuel and medicines, in supporting and hosting biodiversity, and in storing carbon (thus, combating climate change) and water (thus, preventing floods and droughts). Soil is the result of extremely slow natural processes and, from the perspective of a human lifetime , it is regarded as a

What is the result of a long-term failure to balance demand for and supply of ecosystem services in drylands?

Desertification is a result of a long-term failure to balance demand for and supply of ecosystem services in drylands.

What is the process of desertification?

Some consider this process, known as desertification, irreversible. Officially, the United Nations defines desertification as “the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.” The shrinking of arable land threatens food and water security for those in poor and rural areas. Poverty and desertification go hand in hand in a vicious cycle. It is important to understand where this phenomenon tends to occur and what the causes of desertification are.

How does desertification affect Ethiopia?

In Ethiopia, FAO calculates that desertification causes the loss of 92,000 hectares of woodlands every year, along with 2 billion tons of fertile , productive soil. As a result, Ethiopian citizens cannot rely on food security. Senegal, a country all the way across the continent from Ethiopia, also struggles with the harsh effects of desertification.

How can we stop desertification?

The world can combat this phenomenon by understanding the causes of desertification and implementing various acts to aid in regenerating arable land. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), established in 1994, is working to improve conditions and increase productivity in vulnerable areas of the world. The organization created the Great Green Wall Initiative, in which the goals are to expand arable land, generate more economic opportunities and increase food and water security in struggling areas, among other objectives.

What is the root issue of desertification in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, over cultivation is a major issue threatening the livelihood of its citizens who depend on the nearly infertile land for agriculture. Overgrazing of livestock is another root issue of desertification. Farmers would formerly graze livestock by moving the animals around, but this is no longer the case.

How does drought affect the world?

Drought alters just about everything including farming opportunity, food and water security, population growth and migration. Drought exacerbates poverty, which is already an issue in many Sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia and Senegal. Many people in these areas are unable to confront what causes desertification without proper preparation.

Where is desertification most common?

Desertification is most common in Africa. More specifically, areas of sub-Saharan Africa see the largest amount of devastation from this environmental issue. By 2030, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calculates that upwards of two-thirds of Africa ’s fertile, productive soil will be lost if desertification continues.

What is the definition of desertification?

Officially, the United Nations defines desertification as “the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.”. The shrinking of arable land threatens food and water security for those in poor and rural areas. Poverty and desertification go hand in hand in a vicious cycle.

How does desertification affect human populations?

If a region undergoes processes that contribute to desertification, any human populations within the region will be strained of resources. Humans rely on the land and soil to grow food and provide timber for shelter. Additionally, a lack of water that contributes to desertification can also strain human populations that will have to struggle for drinking water. Regions that experience desertification also see its population of humans migrate out of the region looking for more fertile land and resources. This can cause populations to move from rural land and into cities, which can strain the resources of that region. Additionally, if the desertification is extensive enough, human populations might migrate into entirely new countries.

What is the process of desertification?

Desertification is a process that an environment undergoes which transforms it into a barren and borderline uninhabitable desert landscape. Desertification is a land degradation process in the sense that the biological productivity, biodiversity, and/or fertility of the region is reduced. The reduction of vegetation and deforestation are generally the main mechanisms that result in a region becoming a desert.

How does overgrazing land affect the soil?

Over farming with monocrop agriculture can deplete soil of its nutrients, and overgrazing land can reduce grass that holds the soil in place, and therefore reduce how much grass is replenished.

How can we stop desertification?

However, desertification also has to be combated and not just prevented. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for example intends to help prevent deserts in Africa from spreading. Besides educating farmers and herders of livestock, some more combative measures include building barriers between fertile land and the erosion actions of deserts. The borders of deserts tend to expand because of the transportation of dry sand and the erosion of fertile soil along borders. Reforestation at borders of deserts can prevent the desert from spreading. Additionally, anti-sand shields can be built. These shields may include physical walls or hills or buffers held in place by grass and brush.

How can farmers help deforestation?

Farmers can adopt more sustainable practices by cycling plants and animals with symbiotic relationships throughout the land and soil. Additionally, better practices can be adopted regarding herding and grazing animals to allow the grass to replenish to maturity before grazing again.

Why is it important to stop desertification?

This can pose a huge problem for humans who rely on the soil to grow food. It is therefore important to stop and prevent desertification so that humans can continue to sustain their food supplies.

Why is Lake Chad disappearing?

The leading theory regarding the lake’s gradual disappearance is that the surrounding governments and local communities overused the water supply within Lake Chad faster than it could be naturally replenished. The dwindling of Lake Chad has threatened surrounding species that rely on the lake. Additionally, this has even led to tensions and conflicts to arise between the countries that border the lake as they argue about how the remaining and dwindling water should be used.

How does desertification affect the ecosystem?

It reduces the land’s potential for biological productivity, and causes conversion of productive lands used for pasture and agriculture into desert-like conditions. Desertification can be measured by the loss of ecosystem productivity it causes, and ranges from slight to severe. For example, moderate desertification causes a 10–25% drop in agricultural productivity, while severe desertification can result in a productivity loss of 50% or more.

What is drought in agriculture?

Drought is defined as a climatic condition with below average to no rainfall for sufficiently long duration leading to serious environmental and socio-economic issues such as crop failures, water scarcities, and food insecurity in the affected area ( Wilhite and Glantz, 1985; Mishra and Singh, 2010 ). When a particular region which gets a lot of rainfall, undergoes drought, the plants/ crops becomes highly sensitive to water stress than the species that grow in arid or semi-arid regions. This fact is more worrisome in the last few decades, which has witnessed unprecedented and extreme weather conditions hampering the crop productivity of tropical and subtropical climatic regions. Hence, the drought scenario can be described as a situation where the plants are unable to extract water from the soil and experience water stress condition. The basic classification of droughts, as shown in Fig. 1, includes meteorological drought, hydrological drought, agricultural drought, and socio-economic drought ( Wilhite and Glantz, 1985 ). Among these, only meteorological drought is concerned with climate change and lack of precipitation. The other types of droughts are the result of lack of proper water management and unsustainable human activities such as over-cultivation, deforestation, and poorly controlled irrigation practice ( Nyssen et al., 2009; Bhandari and Panthi, 2014; Van Loon, 2015; Yu et al., 2018 ).

What are the problems in the Middle East?

In the Middle East, the most water-stressed part of the world, the water resources and water quality are severely affected by the climate change and the global warming, leading to frequent droughts and depleted water reserves. The low rainfall and desertification cause serious political instability, exacerbating the likelihood of failed states in this volatile region. The extreme climate coupled with mismanagement of water resources and inadequate infrastructure, deprive the growing population of safe drinking water, food, shelter, and stability, as reflected by the erupted 2011 “Arab Spring” and the on-going Iraq, Syrian, and Yemen civil wars which enflamed migration and dislocation of population with widespread consequences. Against this background, the region is to promote sustainable management of water resources, incorporating advanced and innovative technologies to support water demand management, adopting good governance, social empowerment, and the protection of aquatic ecosystems. Advanced water conservation, consumption administration, data management and public participation, as already available, supplemented by water reuse, recovery of resources and sea water desalination, expanding on early initiatives by prosperous countries, have yet to be practiced on a large scale, region-wide. For such desirable vision to materialize, cross border and upstream-downstream linkages, between riparian states, have to be addressed improving capacities and sharing experiences, based on water management systems fostered by UN, such as IWRM, 2030 Agenda and NBS, aiming to overcome the climate change and adapting to its consequences.

Why does desertification happen?

As desertification occurs, this most productive layer of the soil gets blown or washed away from the surface rather quickly because there is no vegetation that would protect it, and nutrients with organic material are lost for good. As the soil dries out, it hardens, and it becomes difficult for any rainfall that does occur to penetrate below the soil’s surface.

How will desertification affect the future?

The loss of land to desertification has major impact on many places on our planet today and is expected to affect humanity even more in the future as population numbers will grow bigger and the availability of natural resources will decline.

What happens to natural resources as urbanization increases?

However, as the trend of urbanization increases, the demand for resources only grows bigger, drawing more and more resources and leaving behind degraded lands that easily succumb to desertification.

What is the story of the villages being swallowed by sand?

In November 2016, Guardian published an article with the title “We have been almost buried: the Sudanese villages being swallowed by sand.” The article goes on describing the struggles of villages in Sudan’s River Nile State that have succumbed to desertification after years of extensive deforestation and worsening droughts. Villages that were once surrounded by forests so dense that you could get lost in them, are now disappearing under the sand.

What happens if you overgraze livestock?

So, people move the livestock to another piece of land where the process repeats. If this occurs long enough, it leads to extensive desertification. There have been numerous cases when overgrazed areas of land became severely damaged.

Is overgrazing a part of desertification?

Overgrazing and desertification have been always closely linked together.

Why is the world turning into a desert?

Lands turn to desert due to a number of reasons, but much of the desertification that is occurring around the world today is caused by human activity on lands that are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and improper agricultural methods. The following are some of the primary causes of desertification in our world.


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