Improving Desertified Lands
Drought has been defined as a natural phenomenon in which rain and water levels have been significantly lower than normally recorded, having substantial eΛect on the land’s agriculture and ecosystem (UNCCD). Or simply put as the scarcity of water resources leading to climatic, hydrological, agronomical and geological impacts on a region.
Desertification which is also closely related to droughts means land degradation in dry lands mostly as a results of human activities such as improper irrigation, deforestation, poor land management etc. Roughly speaking, it can also be referred to as the conversion of fertile, productive land into degraded desert-like lands.
Droughts and desertification are becoming increasing global problems that are worsening largely due to human activities and climate change. In the past two decades, roughly 2.7 billion people around the world have been aΛected by drought and nearly 12 million people have died as a result of it. Today, it is predicted by forecasts that by 2050, the eΛects of droughts would likely be felt by three-quarters of the world population.
Other than the direct consequences of droughts and desertification to man, these processes could greatly contribute to irreversible, adverse changes to the earth’s biodiversity as studies already show the gradual eradication of Οora and fauna with the increasing severity of desertification. Additionally, desertification and droughts expose aΛected dryland regions to other associated unpleasant natural phenomena such as sand and dust storms while also subtly fostering CO2 contributions into the atmosphere.
Since it is often a lot more challenging to treat or correct the effects of droughts and desertification, it becomes clear that prevention of such processes and thereby its effect is much better and needed. Treating the droughts and desertification at their roots would include measures such as reforestation and other sustainable land management practices that would help to prevent dry lands against soil erosion, prevent vegetation loss, overgrazing and land mismanagement.
For this year 2022, the Desertification and Drought Day has been themed “Rising up from drought together” with a focus on quick preventative measures that can be taken early enough to avoid disastrous consequences. This event is globally observed with the priority of supporting the predominantly drought-prone countries to develop national action plans to reduce drought damages and restore desertified lands. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable.