Magazine article Geographical

Desertification

Magazine article Geographical

Desertification

Article excerpt

According to the UN, an area of land equivalent in size to Sri Lanka dries up and turns into desert every year. The result of the interaction between global climate change and localised farming and logging activities, desertification is already leading to mass migration in Africa as people leave their ancestral lands in search of more fertile areas. If action isn't taken to reverse the trend, by 2020, an estimated 60 million people will move from degraded areas in sub-Saharan Africa towards northern Africa and Europe.

As land turns into desert, it releases dust into the atmosphere, which could result in even greater changes to the global climate, as well as triggering breathing problems in people and animals and damaging ecosystems. And this loss of topsoil and its associated nutrients represents a further degradation of the land.

Nevertheless, even in the world's desertification 'hot spot', the Sahel, there are indications that the process can be reversed. And farmers in some of the world's most drought-stricken lands are showing how it can be done. …

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