Question: Rapidly changing agriculture pattern and biodiversity destruction has been the major contributors to desertification. Comment.
Answer: Desertification is the continuous degradation of dryland ecosystems by variations in climate and human activities. The issue of desertification is the most concerning for the world at current moment when major areas can turn into deserts.
Process of desertification
- Groundwater level down
During the first phase, the groundwater level goes down rapidly. There will be no availability of water for living beings.
- Plant diversity down
The number of plants that can be supported by an area decreases. As biodiversity goes down, the top fertility also decreases.
Role of agriculture in desertification
- Changing crop pattern
Growing of water intensive crops has changed the nature of soil. The groundwater levels have fallen and in the longer run the land becomes barren.
- Overuse of synthetic materials
Uses of synthetic fertlisers, herbicides, weedicides etc have affected the top level soil fertility drastically. The organic content in the soil decreases.
- Unsustainable irrigation
Over irrigation has also affected the pH of the soil. Flood irrigation has caused acidification of soil, which makes it unsuitable for agriculture.
Role of bio-diversity destruction in desertification
- Degradation of symbiotic relationship
Organisms and plants live in a symbiotic relationship. Use of chemicals usually results in destruction of this relationship. Soil loses its fertility if this relationship is destroyed.
- Decrease in precipitation
Trees and plants play a major role in bringing precipitation and recharging groundwater. As vegetation cover reduces, the rainfall also drastically goes down.
Thus, desertification is rapidly spreading across areas that were once very fertile. Climate change will also intensify the process.