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Desertification: A Worldwide Problem Essay

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California’s central valley conjures images of lush, green landscapes; however, it has been plagued by drought for much of the past decade. While we may have only felt most of the effects of drought in our bank accounts with increasing water rates, the central valley has felt the effects in another way – the process of desertification. The process has caused major concern for many in the agricultural community but has moreover led to a widespread concern for much of the developing world. Desertification is a global environmental problem that the textbook Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry and Applications,written by William P. Cunningham and Mary Ann Cunningham, defines as the “process of conversion of once fertile land to…show more content…
Additionally, lands that are thoroughly tilled are also subject to the wind erosion. To highlight this point further “[e]very year more than 1million tons of sand and dust blow from Chinese drylands, often traveling across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of North America” (Cunningham 167).
Allowing animals to overgraze native plants is another contributor to desertification. In China, “[p]eople share land but raise animals for themselves and try to enrich themselves by raising as many as they can. This leads to more animals than the land can support” (Hays). These animals typically eat the best of what the native land has to offer and so on until much of the native plants are gone. This also allows for soils to be degraded by winds but more importantly, it can have an effect on the rain fall in this location. Fewer plants lead to less transpiration by those plants which can lead to less accumulation of moisture in the air.
Water is most certainly an important resource to us all – plants, animals and humans alike. Due to this fact, water scarcity can be a contributing factor to desertification as well. “[W]ater scarcity limits the production of crops, forage, wood, and other ecosystem provisioning services” (GreenFacts). This highlights why the UNCCD is most concerned about desertification in the generally dryer areas with scarce water supplies.
Due to the undeniable effects that desertification can have on regions and populations of the world, the
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