2006-International Year Of The Desert

International Year of The Desert

Desertification, in the words of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is one of the world’s most alarming processes of environmental degradation. The issue is often obscured, however, by a common misperception: that it’s a “natural” problem of advancing deserts in faraway developing countries. In fact, Desertification is about land degradation: the loss of the land’s biological productivity, caused by human-induced factors and climate change. It affects one third of the earth’s surface and over a billion people. Moreover, it has potentially devastating consequences in terms of social and economic costs.

Desertification and International Policy Imperative

This is information about the desertification conference held in Algiers that just ended today. I will be posting on the outcome when more information is known.

Battling The Desert In China

Main causes of drylands/deforestation

*climate change from the burning of fossil fuels causing less rainfall and over evaporation of the soil
* over population
* over grazing
* overusing groundwater
* deforestation/destroying trees
* the use of wood as domestic fuel
* growing water intensive crops (like rice)

These are all actions that can be reversed by humans taking the initiative, which will be the only course of action as this crisis worsens.


PeakEngineer said…
Do you happen to have any information on how farming practices such as heavy mulching save on water usage? Much of the anecdotal evidence seems to indicate it nearly eliminates the need to supplement the rain in temperate climates.
WaterIsLife said…
What I do know of mulching is in regards to gardening, and it is suggested that the mulch not be too heavy (only two to four inches) as to not also inhibit nutrients getting into the soil. Using my own judgement I would say that drylands could benefit from heavy mulching, however, I am not familiar with the more in depth facts regarding possible lack of proper exposure to sunlight which is also important, as well as the potential of crop damage due to flooding. I am looking into it, and should I find anything useful I will post it here.