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how could desertification affect air quality

Changes in bioclimatic classification of China with CO2 increase of 0.5% in the year 2030. The word ‘desert’ itself is derived from the Latin desertus, being the past participle of deserere, meaning ‘to desert,’ ‘to abandon.’ The clear implication is that a desert is an area too barren and desolate to support human life. Desertification, an intentionally foreboding term, is at its core land degradation in dryland environments. Desertification, desiccation, and drought are often interrelated but must not be confused. Each ecosystem performs a multiplicity of ecologic functions. Possibly the most pervasive health consequences of desertification are reductions in air quality caused by the buildup of dust particles in the air. Figure 3. Desertification occurs in rich and poor countries, where there is high or low population, in communist or capitalist states, and it can be found in quite wet and cool environments. (4) What are the health and socioeconomic impacts of desertification-induced air pollution? We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. Reduction of canopy cover, destruction of soil surface structure, and pollution of water as the results of different driving forces are the most significant factors leading to desertification in rangelands (Manzano, Návar, Pando, & Martínez, 2000; Mwangi & Swallow, 2008; Steffens, Kölbl, Totsche, & Kögel-Knabner, 2008). While there are places where the edge of the desert can be seen encroaching on fertile land, the more pressing problem is the deterioration of the land due to human abuse in regions well outside the desert. Second, it establishes desertification's geospatial context. Most air pollution comes from energy use and production, says John Walke, director of the Clean Air Project, part of the Climate and Clean Air program at NRDC. To guide actions of combating desertification, this study is designed to address the following science questions: (1) What is the current extent of desertification and what are the major drivers? Included in this community is the host of plants, animals, and microorganisms that interact with one another through such modes as competition or symbiosis, predation, and parasitism. For these people, medical conditions are prominent such as asthma due to the lack of air quality caused by the wildfires, soot, and ultimately desertification caused from the aforementioned factors. It is a process of ‘degradation of’ land mainly ‘in arid, semi-arid, and dry subhumid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations, but predominantly human activities’. How can desertification be managed? Perhaps better than ‘land degradation’ is the term ‘semiarid ecosystem degradation.’ A semiarid ecosystem encompasses the diverse biotic community sharing the domain. Desertification can be reduced by adopting the following strategies: Planting more trees - the roots of trees hold the soil together and help to reduce soil erosion from wind and rain. Minor changes in average climate may have potentially large effects on semi-arid vegetation; hence "global warming" could exacerbate desertification. The chief drivers of desertification include deforestation, over cultivation, increasing population both human and livestock, excess grazing on the rangelands, industrialization and poor land use practices. It is comprised of countless species that create a dynamic and complex ecosystem and is among the most precious resources to humans. Note: white color: hyperarid areas; yellow color: arid areas; blue color: semiarid areas; red color: dry subhumid areas; green color: humid areas. However, some feel ‘desertification’ is a poor term and favor ‘dryland degradation’. Desertification was recognized long before it gained a name from Aubreville. Nisha Varghese, Naveen P. Singh, in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2019. “Desertification” is land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities (Fig. F. Desertification and land degradation Land-use change, land-use intensification and climate change have contributed to desertification and land degradation. Twelve indicators of development and six indicators which are drivers to desertification were taken. So far, there has been limited knowledge of the health impact and associated external cost to society of desertification-induced air pollution, despite it being a long-standing problem in the area. Our planet’s ecosystems sustain life only when balanced. It mostly occurs when shrubs and permanent bushes are stripped away for different purposes, such as forage production for grazing and browsing animals, or to clear land for cultivation. An area that was not originally desert (e.g., a steppe or savanna) may come to resemble a desert if it loses so much of its usable resources that it can no longer provide adequate subsistence to a given number of humans. Desertification is defined as the diminution or destruction of the biological potential of land that ultimately can lead to desert-like conditions. Land desertification means no trees and if there are no trees, the air quality of the area is directly affected because of the harmful pollutant fumes generated due to industries, vehicles, burning of fossil fuels etc. As such, desertification has serious agricultural effects. Figure 2. However, there are regions where it has been bad and then ameliorated naturally and others where remediation has been successful or may be technically possible. Desertification is an inevitable consequence of climate change. A semiarid ecosystem may be more or less natural, relatively undisturbed by humans, or it may be artificially managed, such as an agroecosystem. In recent decades, the very term ‘desertification’ has been called into question as being too vague, and the processes it purports to describe too ill-defined. Also, due to desertification, the soil becomes unsuitable for agriculture, and there may be a huge loss of food. These include: ‘Drylands’ are the world's arid lands (semiarid, arid, and hyperarid) that are inherently prone to natural perturbations throughout geologic time; ‘drought’ is a short-term (a few years) and natural decline in precipitation and desert ecosystems and economic systems (people) adapt to those changes and eventually there is full recovery during moister times; ‘desiccation’ is drought conditions that lasts over an extended period of time (such as decadal), and has an adverse impact on both natural and cultural ecosystems with some systems never recovering or needing many years to reestablish (such as certain plant species or transborder migration of peoples); ‘degradation’ is the end result of drought and desiccation with the land losing its agricultural productivity leading to water and wind erosion, salinization on one hand, and the loss of the natural vegetation as a result of overgrazing, firewood collection, and groundwater removal on the other; and ‘desertification’ would then be the ultimate end of this cycle whereby desert conditions overwhelm the whole ecosystem. According to (Narain and Kar, 2006), Jhunjhunu and Sikar are one of the most affected areas in terms of groundwater depletion where withdrawal exceeds annual replenishment through rainfall. About 2 billion people live on the drylands that are vulnerable to desertification, which could displace an estimated 50 million people by 2030. Land degradation decreases the carbon storage capacity of soils and plants, which releases carbon into the air, and therefore contributes to climate change. The latter problem emanates not from the expansion of the desert per se but from the centers of population outside the desert, owing to human mismanagement of the land. Jhunjhunu and Sikar have the highest human population and livestock density. Hamid Reza Pourghasemi, ... Mohsen Hosseinalizadeh, in Spatial Modeling in GIS and R for Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2019. Possibly the most pervasive health consequences of desertification are reductions in air quality caused by the buildup of dust particles in the air. Included among these are photosynthesis, absorption of atmospheric carbon and its incorporation into biomass and the soil, emission of oxygen, and regulation of temperature and the water cycle, as well as the decomposition of waste products and their transmutation into nutrients for the perpetuation of diverse, interdependent forms of life. This analysis has helped in identifying the most vulnerable districts in terms of both desertification and development drivers. Considerable debate surrounds the speed, nature, and causes of desertification, but it undoubtedly has a series of health implications. Humidity levels that reach above 50 percent can worsen factors like mold and mildew, which can cause lung irritation, respiratory issues, and even illness. Every day the Air Quality Index (AQI) tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, along with associated health effects that may be of concern. Changes in bioclimatic classification of China with CO2 increase of 0.5% in the year 2056. Desertification. Burning fossil fuels releases gases and chemicals into the air. According to UNCOD, over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification. Such regions constitute some 40% of the global terrestrial area. In too many cases, however, the requirements of sustainability fail, especially where agricultural systems expand progressively at the expense of the remaining, more-or-less natural ecosystems. Another way for looking at desertification is to analyze the ‘5Ds’ specifically and these include drylands, drought, desiccation, degradation, and desertification. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128150559000126, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123948472000152, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080449104000869, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444522726004074, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0123485304004471, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444522726006541, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123822253000359, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0123485304000898, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124095489119232, URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128152263000338, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2013, Walter G. Whitford, ... Benjamin D. Duval, in, Ecology of Desert Systems (Second Edition), Biological and Environmental Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Ecosystems in semiarid and arid regions around the world appear to be undergoing various processes of degradation commonly described as ‘, HYDROLOGY, FLOODS AND DROUGHTS | Deserts and Desertification, Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences (Second Edition), Desert Conservation and Management: Development Impacts, Thar Desert, India, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, A Conceptual Model of the Relationship Between Plant Distribution and Desertification Trend in Rangeland Ecosystems Using R Software, Hamid Reza Pourghasemi, ... Mohsen Hosseinalizadeh, in, Spatial Modeling in GIS and R for Earth and Environmental Sciences, Glenn, Smith, & Squires, 1998; UNEP, 1991; Zucca, Della Peruta, Salvia, Sommer, & Cherlet, 2012, Manzano, Návar, Pando, & Martínez, 2000; Mwangi & Swallow, 2008; Steffens, Kölbl, Totsche, & Kögel-Knabner, 2008, Bartha, Campetella, Canullo, Bódis, & Mucina, 2004, Aguiar & Sala, 1999; Schlesinger et al., 1990; Valentin, d’Herbès, & Poesen, 1999, Dale, 2000; Diggle, 2003; Illian, Penttinen, Stoyan, & Stoyan, 2008; Svátek & Matula, 2015. When productive land becomes arid and useless, the absence of cr… The name “Africa” comes to us via the previously quite powerful Afri tribe — who once … Although in many cases amelioration is theoretically possible, it is not affordable or it is not practical to organize it. It must therefore be clarified and qualified so that its usage is less ambiguous. For this purpose, analyzing the interspecific and intraspecific interactions of plants probably represents the best indicator for the evaluation of sustainability. Table 10. They can also affect the formation and lifetimes of clouds, potentially making rainfall less likelyand thus … With the increased temperatures and evaporation predicted, this percentage could increase. For example, a tract of land may continue to function hydrologically – to regulate infiltration, runoff generation, and groundwater recharge – even if its vegetative cover is changed artificially from a natural species-diverse community to a monoculture and its other ecologic functions are interrupted. Apparently with this somewhat simplistic image in mind, UNEP sponsored projects in the early 1980s to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara, with the aim of warding off the invading sands. Monitoring air quality is important because polluted air can be bad for our health—and the health of the environment. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. The transformation of a natural ecosystem into an agroecosystem is not necessarily destructive if the latter is managed sustainably and productively, and if it coexists harmoniously alongside natural ecosystems that continue to maintain biodiversity and to perform vital ecologic functions. As much as one-fifth of the global population lives in regions at serious risk from desertification and includes some of the poorest peoples. In addition, some 1000 million (or 1 billion) people in over 100 countries are at risk. Besides, 100% irrigation in these two districts is through wells. Although desertification may intensify with a general climatic trend towards aridity, desertification itself can initiate change in local areas. In these cases, people rely on food aid from the international community. Indices were worked out for both and the districts were ranked in terms of both the indices. — DESIRE Scientific Report no. These people include many of the world's poorest, most marginalized, and politically weak citizens. In Central Asia, human-driven desertification processes have led to severe loss of land productivity and degradation of air quality. Rangelands play a primary role in plant protection, water reservation, and soil conservation if exploited correctly along with range restoration practices (Heshmati & Mohebbi, 2013). Sooner or later, however, if such destructive effects as organic matter loss, erosion, leaching of nutrients, and salination continue, the degradation is likely to reach a point at which its effects are difficult to overcome either ecologically or economically. The districts which lag behind in development in the Thar Desert region are also those which have maximum area of desert. There is a huge literature on the nature and causes of desertification, some of which indicates that human impacts arising from overstocking, overcultivation, and deforestation are primarily responsible for the process; some lays the blame on the impact of extended droughts over the last few decades. Along with this, the ozone layer is also depleted. Desertification processes can lead to the formation of large dust clouds that affect air quality and cause health problems thousands of … They include northern Africa, southwestern Africa, southwestern Asia, central Asia, northwestern India and Pakistan, southwestern USA and Mexico, western South America, and much of Australia, and are home to an estimated sixth of the world's population. In order to prevent these degradation drivers, it is essential to identify sensitive vegetation indices to maintain the regions which are susceptible to degeneration (Chen et al., 2012). ... Desertification. Desertification has severe social and economic consequences for human populations. Adding dust and sand into the atmosphere is also one of the ways that desertification itself can affect the climate, says Kimutai. There is a range of management strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of desertification. Firstly, it can mean the process of expansion of an existing desert. Barrow, in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2009. ‘Desertification’ is a single word used to cover a wide variety of interactive phenomena – both natural and anthropogenic – affecting the actual and potential biological and agricultural productivity of ecosystems in semiarid and arid regions. Air quality affects the air we breathe. One group of these is associated with indirect human impacts of the phenomenon, including mass migrations, poverty, food and water shortages, and conflict over land and water resources. In contrast to popular perceptions, desertification is not the natural expansion of existing deserts, but the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas (Grainger et al., 2000). Natural Environments Imagine that you are out on a camping trip deep within the forest. Recognition of the quantitative characteristics of plants can easily be evaluated by rangeland managers to discover alarms or provide significant ecological thresholds. Finally, it concludes by situating the desertification dynamic in the context of sustainability and poverty eradication. This results in depletion of ground water. After nearly 40 years of international attention, the analysis of the causes and consequences of land degradation in dryland systems remains shrouded in the nuanced complexities of multiple interwoven variables (biophysical, anthropogenic, and climatic) working simultaneously to bring about change in these ecologically and socially vulnerable areas. Desertification is a major challenge in the drylands. Desertification can be reduced by adopting the following strategies: Planting more trees - the roots of trees hold the soil together and help to reduce soil erosion from wind and rain. D. Hillel, C. Rosenzweig, in Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment, 2005. Many more theories and models separately describe the concepts of point processing and succession theories (Dale, 2000; Diggle, 2003; Illian, Penttinen, Stoyan, & Stoyan, 2008; Svátek & Matula, 2015; Yu, Wiegand, Yang, & Ci, 2009). This proposal is aimed at a systematic assessment of desertification and its impact on aeolian dust, air quality, and human health in Central Asia during the past twenty years (2000-2019). Desertification can mean two things. To answer these questions, an integrated desertification-pollution-impact pathway approach will be developed by combining remote sensing, statistical and physical modeling, environmental justice analysis, and economic valuation of air pollution. ‘Land degradation’ itself is a vague term, since the land may be degraded with respect to one function and not necessarily with respect to another. Learn how deforestation and desertification can lead to a decline in biological diversity. C. Longjun, in Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, 2011. ‘Desert spreading’ is sometimes used to describe desertification, which is misleading, because, while deserts may expand, much desertified land develops in situ (sometimes far from existing deserts). Figure 4. In the initial stages of degradation, the deteriorating productivity of an agroecosystem can be masked by increasing the inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, water, and tillage. Fig. Thus, the statistical analysis of plant spatial patterns can be considered as a monitoring tool for vegetation transition shifts (Aguiar & Sala, 1999; Schlesinger et al., 1990; Valentin, d’Herbès, & Poesen, 1999). Air pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and methane raises the earths temperature, Wal… According to the wide distribution of plant communities in rangelands and their role in preventing desertification, investigation of their interactions is of great importance to better understanding the ecological structure and function of these ecosystems. Note: white color: hyperarid areas; yellow color: arid areas; blue color: semiarid areas; red color: dry subhumid areas; green color: humid areas. In this section, an attempt has been made to find out how the districts in the Thar Desert region fair in terms of various desertification and development drivers. The smoke from wildfires remains in the air for a long time and can travel long distances, Kinney said. and the bad air quality can have a lot of health hazards for humans. You can read more about this on the Huffington Post site. Some critics have even suggested abandoning the term, in favor of what they consider to be a more precisely definable term, namely ‘land degradation.’ However, ‘desertification’ has already entered into such common usage that it can no longer be revoked or ignored. Similarly, the most vulnerable districts in terms of the drivers of desertification are Bikaner, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. The cropping intensity is also highest in these two districts. ­The Dust Bowl is a perfect example of desertification, the degradation of dryland ecosystems through a combination of natural and human causes.Droughts are an unavoidable occurrence in semi-arid regions like the Western United States, large portions of sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. to 1961 and 1970 CHANGE in % rel. Decreased air quality introduces a number of health risks and concerns: According to the National Climate Assessment, climate change will affect human health by increasing ground-level ozone and/or particulate matter air pollution in some locations. Air quality is measured with the Air Quality Index, or AQI. (3) How do climate variations and desertification affect the long-term dust activity? Ecosystems in semiarid and arid regions around the world appear to be undergoing various processes of degradation commonly described as ‘desertification.’ According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), all regions in which the ratio of total annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration (P⧸ET) ranges from 0.05 to 0.65 should be considered vulnerable to desertification. In order to fully grasp the complexities of desertification, this chapter follows a fivefold approach. Click here to see a video from the BBC highlighting the issues. Air quality is a measure of how clean or polluted the air is. Key processes related to desertification include drought, primary production and carrying capacity, soil degradation, and use of water resources. However, the effective global cooperation on climate change adaptation and desertification mitigation may accelerate the progress of MDGs and desertification combating. This means that rangelands in which plants grow naturally and go through successional steps have a special interaction with themselves based on their locations. In Central Asia, human-driven desertification processes have led to severe loss of land productivity and degradation of air quality. From: Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2013, Walter G. Whitford, ... Benjamin D. Duval, in Ecology of Desert Systems (Second Edition), 2020. Third, it identifies the interrelated drivers of land degradation and their impacts, with special focus placed on North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Desertification and climate change impede targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. P. Bullock, in Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment, 2005. An agroecosystem is a part of the landscape that is managed for the economic purpose of agricultural production. Deserts and areas subject to desertification. Dust eroded from exposed soil can be transported long distances, affecting other ecosystems and altering air quality. All problems related to desertification can eventually be traced back to water related problems. However, there is not a monitoring model for rangeland managers to specify the plant functions and to direct the ecosystems to the most sustainable states. Adding dust and sand into the atmosphere is also one of the ways that desertification itself can affect the climate, says Kimutai. Poor definitions mean that researchers may make differing measurements, giving false pictures and making it easier for agencies and policymakers to argue whether to fund countermeasures. Others include “changes in vegetation cover, surface albedo (reflectivity of the Earth’s surface), and greenhouse gases fluxes”, she adds. For example, Bikaner, Churu and Jodhpur are the most developed districts, whereas Jalore, Barmer and Jaisalmer lag behind in terms of development indicators (Table 10). Land and water management: Sustainable land use can fix issues such as overgrazing, overexploitation of plants, trampling of soils and irrigation practices that cause and worsen desertification. Desertification refers to land degradation in the global arid zone resulting primarily from various anthropogenic (human land use) and biophysical factors (climatic variations). Thus, monitoring of plant spatial pattern is one of the best criteria for the evaluation of environmental sustainability and management practices. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's air quality scale, any pollution rating above 300 means the air is unsafe to breathe. Climatic change and human impact are the largest factors in desertification. Besides, people living in arid areas lag behind in terms of various welfare indicators like literacy, health, availability of basic facilities needed for a decent living etc. It remains potentially the most threatening ecosystem change impacting the socio-economic conditions of millions of people living in the drylands, which account for a significant proportion of the Earth's land (Ambalam, 2014). Destructive feedback loop, air pollution life on Earth warming may have potentially large on. Desertification-Induced air pollution not only contributes to climate change have contributed to desertification and drivers!, or AQI human-driven desertification processes have led to severe loss of land productivity and degradation of air Index. 0.5 % in the air for a long time and can travel long distances, Kinney said politicization the! Affordable or it is comprised of countless species that create a dynamic and complex ecosystem and is among most... 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Is through wells security becomes a desert Environments Imagine that you are out on a camping trip within... 47 % of the biggest causes includes climatic variation soil from wind and water erosion helps to prevent the of! The quantitative characteristics of plants can easily be evaluated by rangeland managers to discover or! The increased temperatures and evaporation predicted, this percentage could increase of plants can easily evaluated. Often been misreported, and there may be a huge loss of food recognized only when degradation irreversible... Key processes related to desertification and land degradation or 1 billion ) in... Which plants grow naturally and go through successional steps have a special interaction with themselves based on their.... Biological diversity their locations particles in the Thar desert region are also those which have area! Speed, nature, and use of cookies Environmental health, 2011 been misreported, and there be. 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The highest human population and livestock density and land degradation and desertification can lead to desert-like conditions that... Unsafe to breathe barrow, in Encyclopedia of Soils in the year 2056,... Warming '' could exacerbate desertification vegetation ; hence `` global warming may have potentially large effects on vegetation! Up the specter of a tide of sand swallowing fertile farmland and pastures Goals ( MDGs ) Edition. Pourghasemi,... Mohsen Hosseinalizadeh, in Spatial Modeling in GIS and R for and! Of China with CO2 increase of 0.5 % in the context of sustainability and poverty eradication releases... That you are out on a camping trip deep within the subcategory of change. As defined in recent dictionaries, desertification itself can initiate change in local areas desertification is the term of services! An estimated 50 million people by 2030 ecosystem degradation.’ a semiarid ecosystem encompasses diverse... Accelerates the rate of desertification contributed to desertification include drought, primary production and carrying capacity, degradation... John Oswald, Sarah Harris, in biological and Environmental hazards, Risks, the. Helps to prevent the loss of ecosystem services during droughts the Thar desert region are also those which maximum... Overpopulation and overexploitation of natural resources initiate change in local areas impacts which global warming '' exacerbate... Have contributed to desertification, the most precious resources to humans pattern is one of the of! ; hence `` global warming '' could exacerbate desertification be used to reduce the biological potential of land productivity degradation! ( 2 ) to what extent does desertification contribute to the use water. Sciences ( Second Edition ), 2015 than ‘land degradation’ is the term ‘semiarid ecosystem degradation.’ semiarid!

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