Desertification is defined as the land degradation by which land becomes arider. Due to different factors like deforestation, drought, or improper/inappropriate agriculture, land losses its vegetation which is termed as desertification. Scientists are claiming that there has been an interconnection between climate change, global warming, and desertification. It has been published that desertification affects the global climate change through vegetation losses. Desertification results in the release of carbon to the atmosphere which eventually contributes towards climate change. According to the published report, approximately 300 million tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere from drylands because of desertification each year.
Both deforestation and climate change are considered as the root cause of desertification. Climate change is responsible for the warming of air temperatures and decreases in precipitation. Further, it can cause drought conditions and prevent the sustained growth of vegetation. Collectively, all these processes make millions of hectares of productive land in a barren land. Due to change in climate, there has been a shift in climate patterns, rainfall, etc. This would eventually affect the productivity of land, thus eventually results in the shifting of food-production zones.
Recently published study discovers that the world’s biggest hot desert, The Sahara, is getting even bigger. The scientists claimed that it is currently about 10 percent larger than it was nearly a century ago. They are further suggesting that climate change is partly responsible for this. In their study, the scientists gathered and examined rainfall data across Africa and noted how changing climate and weather conditions affected regions around the boundaries of the great desert. Their research discovered that reduced rainfall, as well as human-driven climate change, are responsible for the desert expansion towards southward. The authors also reported that Sahara’s slow growth will likely continue. During their study, the authors found that trends of decreasing precipitation in the Sahel, a semiarid region linking the Sahara to the savannas of Sudan. One of the authors, Thomas said that many deserts’ boundaries expand and contract seasonally but there has been “a strong expansion” of the Sahara within the 20th century. The authors further reported that it has become about 10 percent bigger over the course of a century.
It is high time to take steps to put a check on desertification. Re-vegetation and soil rehabilitation are considered as the key to this. It is suggested that it would do great in the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid climate zones. The planting of trees will help in sustainable soil management. The transformation of such woodlands can be further used for multipurpose agroforestry plantations.