Description Of The Desertification Crisis In Africa

956 words - 4 pages

Controlling the DesertChanging the makeup of a continent’s lands can be devastating for the people that live there. The threat of famine because of a different climate that in unable to yield the amount of food necessary for the people to maintain their populations is one of the greatest problems associated with those sorts of changes. When a land once vital for people to feed their families begins to turn into desert, the people of the land are threatened. Scientists are attempting to look at why the desert in Africa appears to be expanding and what may be done to oppose the degradation of the land. International organizations and states realize the seriousness of the issue, and have held conferences and done research to explore the roots of the growing desert.The least developed countries in Africa are the ones that face the greatest danger from their lands turning into desert. More developed countries are wealthier and will not be as affected by a change. Some of the poorer states have an annual income that is just fractions of what the more advanced states are earning. Desertification may prevent the less developed states from ever developing and becoming a player in the globalized world. If they cannot afford to feed themselves, one can hardly expect them to be building an infrastructure and improving their economy. When a continent is already in hundreds of billions in debt, changing the landscape may cripple them forever (UN 1993).Africa is a place where almost the entire population relies on the land in some fashion in order to make money for their families. It is almost the opposite of places like the United States where very few people provide for many. There is not enough of the infrastructure set up in many places in Africa for the people to begin to develop in that way. For almost a century, the land has become noticeable eroded. Farmers’ crops have yield less crops due to these changes (Meadows 2002).It is impossible to hold a discussion about the possible cause of the desertification in Africa without discussing the massive losses of woodlands as a potential culprit in the process. The drastic decline in the quantity of trees has an effect on the amount of rainfall a place may have. A lack of rainfall dries out the land, making erosion worse, and reduces crop yields. Because of the drop in crops, the farmers are forced to exploit the land more. This process forms a perpetual cycle (Zeng 2003).Some of the degradation in the land comes from people continually farming on the same lands. After generations use the lands nutrients from the soil repeatedly, the land begins to erode. It also appears that the worst damage is unfortunately done by the poorest farmers; that may also have the most people depending upon them for food (Nicholson 1998). The communal growers have far less land to work with and usually have more people working on it. This scenario sets the stage for people to over...

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