Desertification may be defined as spread of desert like conditions in areas due to man’s interference or climatic change. The process of desertification is attributed to various causes of which more important are uncontrolled grazing, reckless felling of trees and growing population.Climate changes have also contributed to the spread of deserts.
What are the areas affected by desertification in India?
A large part belonging to Rajasthan, South Punjab, Haryana,one third area of Gujarat,are affected by desert conditions. Jammu and Kashmir has cold deserts in Leh and Ladakh.
Semi Arid conditions prevail in large parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, U.P, Tamil Nadu etc.
What are its Consequences?
Some important implications are listed below:
1-Excessive soil erosion by wind and to some extent by water.
2-Increase in area under wastelands.
3-Drifting of sand and its accumulation on fertile agricultural land.
4- Lowering of water table leading to acute water shortage.
5- Increase in frequency and intensity of droughts.
6- Deposition of sand in rivers,lakes and other water bodies thereby decreasing their water containing capacity.
What are the mitigation methods to combat Desertification?
1- Intensive tree plantation programme should be initiated.
2- Indiscriminate felling of trees should be banned.
3- Grazing should be controlled and new pastures should be developed.
4- Sandy and wastelands should be put to proper use by judicious planning.