Desertification Essay example

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The world’s drylands, contrary to popular misconceptions of being barren unproductive land, contain some of the most valuable and vital ecosystems on the planet. These dryland environments have surprising diversity and resiliency, supporting over two billion people, approximately thirty-five percent of the global population (UNEP, 2003). In fact, approximately seventy percent of Africans depend directly on drylands for their daily livelihood (UNEP, 2003). However, these precious and crucial areas are at a crossroad, endangered and threatened by the devastating process of desertification. There are over one hundred definitions for the term ‘desertification’, however the most widely used and current definition is as follows: desertification …show more content…
Consequently, desertification is out of control, threatening the sustainability of the world’s environment, disrupting social structures and well-being, and impairing economic growth. This crisis reaches beyond the local, directly affected communities, impacting and jeopardizing world stability. Environmentally, desertification reduces the world’s freshwater reserves due to water over consumption and irrigation mismanagement, decreases genetic diversity through soil erosion and plant destruction, and also accelerates the carbon exchange process by damaging carbon ‘sinks’. Socially, desertification causes population displacement as people search for better living conditions, often leading to conflicts and wars. Another social consequence is a dramatic reduction in the world’s food supply due to the depletion of vital dryland vegetation and a decline in crop yields. Desertification is also linked to a number of health issues such as malnutrition, as clean water and sufficient food resources are extremely scarce. Economically, income potential is lost because land is unproductive, and monetary funds are devoted towards combating desertification, compromising economic growth and development. Crisis management becomes more important than achieving economic goals. Furthermore, increasing levels of poverty have resulted due to dire economic conditions. The

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