Over the last couple of years, desertification has turned out to be a threat as it destroys our natural habitat and arable land in different parts of the world. But what really causes desertification and how can it be stopped? This is the question that most people are always asking themselves whenever they come across the term desertification.  While its leading causes are a combination of human and natural activities, the entire process is well understood and can be prevented if the will is there. In this article, we are going to explore what is desertification and how it affects our day to day activities.

What is Land Desertification?

For those who have no clue, land desertification is the processes of land degradation that makes a dry area turn into a desert. This process usually involves the extinction of any water bodies or vegetation in that particular area.Therefore, land desertification is mostly associated with images of deserts encroaching on farmlands and moving across landscapes. Worse of all, it may end up causing starvation to vulnerable populations around the world.

Causes of Desertification

There are quite a number of reasons as to why we may be experiencing land desertification. Here are some of them:

  • Deforestation

Deforestation is among the leading causes of deforestation in most countries of the world. This mostly occurs when people are trying to occupy a new piece of land especially those that are situated in forests. Since they lack enough space, people are forced to cut down trees in order to get land to farm and stay in. Without the trees around the rest of the ecosystem can no longer survive.

  • Overgrazing

Overgrazing and deforestation are two things that will always go hand in hand. In dry areas, grass and any other small vegetation around are vital if you are to prevent soil erosion. This is because they keep the soil intact regardless of the weather condition. However, it is quite the norm for people to herd their animals especially in dry areas as it is their only source of livelihood. When people graze in a given area repeatedly,grass starts drying since their roots are weakened by animals that constantly step on them. After a while, there will be no vegetation to hold down the soil thus leading to desertification.

  • Unsustainable Water Management

Drylands, the most vulnerable areas to desertification are always characterized with scarcity of water during specific times of the year. This means the ecosystem is well-adapted to survive in these areas.  However, the problem arises when humans change the natural cycles simply because they have the intention of crop or pasture growing. When people do this, they risk contributing to desertification since vegetation will find it hard in surviving.

The causes of desertification are quite many to the extent we cannot list all of them. However, humans needs to understand the impact of desertification before performing any activity. It is only through this action that we will live a stress free life.


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