February 09, 2010
Subtropics In Danger Of Further Desertification

38 percent of world's surface in danger of desertification.

"Despite improvements in the LCA, it has a methodological weakness, which is a lack of environmental impact categories to measure the effect of human activities such as cultivation or grazing on the soil", Montserrat Nez, lead author and a researcher at the Institute of Agro Food Research and Technology (IRTA), tells SINC.

The research, published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, is the first study in the world to include the impact of desertification in the LCA, based on classifying 15 natural areas or "eco-regions" according to their degree of aridity. By simultaneously using the LCA and a Geographic Information System (GIS), the researchers have shown that eight of these 15 areas can be classified as at risk of desertification, representing 38% of the land surface of the world.

Excessive pumping of aquifers (a huge problem btw), farming practices, and other factors contribute to the risk.

The subtropical regions are at most risk.

The eight natural areas at risk are coastal areas, the Prairies, the Mediterranean region, the savannah, the temperate Steppes, the temperate deserts, tropical and subtropical Steppes, and the tropical and subtropical deserts.

"The greatest risk of desertification (7.6 out of 10 on a scale produced using various desertification indicators) is in the subtropical desert regions North Africa, the countries of the Middle East, Australia, South West China and the western edge of South America", the scientist explains.

Sounds like strange days have come.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 February 09 09:22 PM  Trends Habitat Loss

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2010 7:16 AM:
38 percent of world's surface in danger of desertification.

That's incredible! Especially when one considers only 29% of the world's surface is land.

not anon or anonymous said at February 10, 2010 4:03 PM:

Bob Badour, it's actually 38% of the land surface of the world. We need to regenerate and restore soil. Since agriculture accounts for 70% of the world's freshwater use, we also need to grow more water-efficient crops and adopt less wasteful irrigation methods.

PacRim Jim said at February 11, 2010 12:59 AM:

If you think we have an illegal alien problem now,...

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