FAQs about Desertification

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3. What are the causes of desertification?

  1. The emission of greenhouse gases is one of the main causes of global warming. The increase in temperature of the planet decreases humidity, increases drought, and produces desertification.
  2. Deforestation of forests is the main cause of the decrease in humidity and the desertification process. Furthermore, deforestation increases global warming and consequently climate change. This process is clearly seen in the Borneo case, where the jungle was largely replaced by the planting of the oil palm.
  3. The creation of huge agriculture fields to supply the human population and animal husbandry. These mega extensions of agricultural land have been established at the expense of a large number of ecosystems and have caused the reduction of humidity and the decrease of populations of large numbers of species.
  4. Forest fires, especially those linked to deforestation, contribute to desertification.
  5. Overgrazing has a double negative effect: it reduces vegetation cover and causes soil erosion.
  6. Poor irrigation practices, coupled with severe water shortages.
  7. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers produces soil degradation, increasing desertification.
  8. The exaggerated use of phytosanitary agents and pesticides cause the extinction of organic matter and humus, necessary for the growth of plants.
  9. The use of heavy machinery for the construction of towns, cities, highways, aqueducts, airports, and other civil works. They cause compaction of the soil and removal of layers of micro fauna and microflora necessary for the life of plants.
  10. Political instability, poverty, disease, famine, population growth, and migration.

Other sections of Desertification


World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020

On June 17, the United Nations celebrates the Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, dedicated this 2020 to promote a change of attitude towards the incessant production and consumption of humanity, which in part are generating desertification and degradation of the lands on the planet.

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