Today Is World Day To Combat Desertification

Today Is World Day To Combat Desertification

Today marks the 22nd annual “World Day To Combat Desertification” which was designated in 1994 as a day to raise awareness for the issue of desertification.

According to the United Nations, desertification occurs when excessive amounts of trees are cut down, farmers engage in unsustainable farming practices and livestock consume an overabundance of grass. This leaves no protective barrier on the land and the wind carries away the soil, which causes the land to become a desert. It’s made-made abuses of the land that create this problem. That’s one of the reasons the UN set up this day; to stop this dangerous erosion before it’s too late and can’t be reversed.

“Desertification is a global issue, with serious implications worldwide for biodiversity, eco-safety, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development,” according to the UN.

Many people depend on this land for their livelihood and the issue is widespread.

“Some two billion people depend on ecosystems in dry land areas, 90% of whom live in developing countries,” according to a brochure released by the UN. “2.6 billion people depend directly, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.”

That’s cause for concern and may comprise the availability of desperately needed resources. The resulting land degradation “over the next 25 years may reduce global food production by up to 12% and…undermines water availability and quality,” according to the brochure. “By 2030, water scarcity alone in some arid and semiarid places may displace up to 700 million people.”  

However, there is a chance for restoration. Current estimates indicate that over 2 billion acres of land have the potential to be saved through reforestation and other preservation measures. Most of this land is in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

 

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