Fertile areas, when exploited, can become barren lands. Fertile lands are those which are well suited to grow crops while barren lands are those which don’t contain enough minerals and or because of the poor texture of the soil, crops don’t grow. There are different types of soil, and they are suited for different crops, but the soil in the barren land is unable to hold minerals or water to suffice the crop and doesn’t provide a suitable scenario for it to grow, for example, sandy soil or places with rocky surfaces. There are a number of reasons which cause desertification in an area. It can be caused by climatic variations or can also be due to human activities. Some of the reasons have been listed below:
Cutting a huge number of trees in one go for the benefit of creating opportunities for the industrialists and the rich adversely affects the land in the longer run. People cut trees at a drastic rate to suffice their needs and luxuries at the cost of the health of the forest. Cutting and burning trees to clear the grounds for a new settlement, putting up industries, or just for the purpose of the woods can permanently damage the soil and take decades to recover.
Animal grazing is a huge problem for many areas that are starting to become desert biomes. If there too animals overgraze on a certain particular spot, then it becomes too difficult for the plants to grow back, which then adversely hurt the biome and makes it lose its former green glory.
Places with extreme climate find it very difficult to grow any kind of crops. We can see instances in the ice-capped poles, where it’s difficult for any kind of organism or plant life to exist. There is barely any soil to suffice for the minerals which a plant requires to extract from the soil. On the other hand, if we take a look at the Sahara Desert in Africa or the Thar desert in India, both are barren deserts land with hardly any kind of existence of life anywhere.
The use of fertilizers and pesticides maximizes the crop yields but at the same time affects the join indirectly and damages the soil permanently, if used in a prolonged manner. In the long run, the land turns arid and arable and no longer remains suitable for crop production.
Drawing excessive amounts of water to suffice a successful crop production can affect the health of the soil. Groundwater is a significant source of freshwater and is also one of the largest water sources. Over drafting is the process of extracting excessive amounts of water by pumping them up from underground aquifers. Its depletion causes desertification as the water table falls disrupting the equilibrium.
About the Author: Soumi Lahiri, a law student who thrives on making this world a better place not only for humans but also for all the co-existing organisms on earth.