Natural Sciences


The desertification is a process in which the soil is degraded, producing one ecological damage . The direct result of this problem is that the land becomes unproductive, both for planting and for other forms of use. Not all soil types are prone to desertification, but arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid lands are.


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Over the years, the causes of desertification have been studied in order to try to mitigate this inconvenience that has brought serious consequences in some areas. These are the main causes:

Climate change: high temperatures have caused some lands to present a greater dryness than normal, due to the lack of water that has caused this variation in temperature. Many lakes have reduced their level or have completely disappeared, which causes that, over the years, the soil is degraded where they previously existed.

Industries without environmental protection: it is no longer a secret that the hand of man has left a negative mark on many natural environments. Land degradation is another of the consequences of various activities carried out by human beings, such as the exploitation of the soil for planting, overgrazing and landscaping.

Over-irrigation: Ironically enough, exposing the land to over-irrigation can cause land degradation.

Types of desertification

  • Moderate desertification: it is said to be moderate when between 10% and 25% of agricultural production has decreased.
  • Severe desertification: occurs when there is a loss of productivity that is in the range of 25% and 50%.
  • Very severe desertification: it occurs when the loss of production is total or almost total (more than 50%). The appearance of the environment is similar to a desert, with arid and very dry terrain.


Desertification can have direct and indirect consequences that affect the development of life on the planet. Some of them are:

    • Migration and emigration: many communities are forced to move to other places due to the lack of drinking water and the lack of fertile soils that allow them to produce food for their own consumption or commercialization.
    • Loss of productivity: it is the direct consequence. The soil is no longer fertile and practically no activity can be carried out with it, which leads to the following consequence.
    • Economic impact: the production of certain foods experiences declines and sellers are forced to look for suppliers in other areas, who may sell the products at higher prices.

Solutions for desertification

Some experts have developed measures that have had good results in areas with soil degradation. For example, it has been determined that reforestation helps correct the lack of nutrients in the land.

On the other hand, the reduction or elimination of monocultures, turning them into polycultures has turned out to be very favorable, especially if fertilization with natural compost is used .

Examples of desertification

  • Madagascar : 93% of the tropical forest and 66% of the rainforest in that country have been cut down, so that part of its soils are desert.
  • Africa : it is a continent very affected by this problem, especially in those countries where its population is inversely proportional to the natural resources it possesses, especially if we are talking about water reserves.
  • Spain : although little is known, Spain has the highest rate of desertification over other countries belonging to the European Union (EU). .
  • Italy : a fifth of the surface of that country can become desert if climate change increases.
  • Argentina : Patagonia, in Argentina, is very affected by this problem, especially the central area, although the coastal part is already experiencing degradation. The main reason is overgrazing, the exploitation of water, lake, and oil resources.
  • Tunisia : more than 50% of its surface is completely desert, with the Sahara to the south, which goes to the north.
  • Venezuela : in the northern coastal strip of the Falcón states (with Los Médanos de Coro), Zulia, Lara, and the Araya Peninsula, to the East.

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