What are the causes of desertification?
- Overgrazing - pounding the soil with their hooves, livestock compact the soil, increase the proportion of fine material, and reduce the percolation rate of the soil, thus encouraging erosion by wind and water.
- Over-cultivation - exhausts the soil leading to a break down in the soils structure and therefore the soil has less resistance to erosion from wind and water.
- Extraction of Groundwater - negatively affects the groundwater budget of an area and will affect the access to water for vegetation.
- Diversion of water - from rivers for human consumption and industrial use leads to areas becoming arid.
- Overpopulation - occurs when too many people live in an area for the resources available for them, leading to extra pressure upon delicate ecosystems.
- Deforestation - firewood is the fuel of choice for many people living in developing countries. This has led to the clear-cutting of forests in dryland ecosystems. Trees play a crucial role in anchoring down topsoil and slowing down the force of winds.
- Global Climate Change - modeling results suggest that dry areas could become hotter and drier, especially semi-arid Africa and South Asia. If climate change increases the frequency and/or intensity of droughts, it would aggravate desertification.
- Drought - droughts are common in arid and semiarid lands, and well-managed lands can recover from drought when the rains return. Continued land abuse during droughts, however, increases land degradation.
Causes of desertification task
Split a sheet of A4 paper into 6 sections of equal size. Choose 6 of the 8 causes of desertification from the list above.
In each section of your sheet of paper - draw an image to represent the cause and add a brief description in your own words.
Desertification case studies
Desertification case studies task
Produce a desertification case study.
- Where has the desertification occurred?
- Why the desertification happen?
- Who was affected by the desertification?
- What is being done to stop the desertification?
Do you think that this idea is 'too' crazy? Could it ever work? What are the major issues that this project may face?
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