What Are Some Ways to Stop Desertification?

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Desertification can be slowed or stopped by protecting the native plants in the area, slowing or stopping land use that leads to erosion, and careful use of land for grazing rather than farming. Desertification is most frequently caused by overuse of water resources in an area, combined with the removal of plant matter. Plants are essential to preventing desertification, as they hold the fertile top soil in place.

Desertification is easier to slow down and prevent than it is to reverse. Some methods of reversal of desertification involve replanting of specific species and the establishment of seed banks to make sure that plants native to the region survive. In areas that have undergone massive deforestation, replanting of trees helps reduce desertification. However, prevention of deforestation is much more effective, as reforested areas frequently have lower biodiversity and are less robust.

One interesting method for slowing desertification involves livestock management. This method has been championed by Allan Savory and involves the use of livestock to rehabilitate the land. In short, during the dry season in areas prone to desertification, the plant matter and grasses tend to dry out and die. Allowing these plants to be eaten by grazing animals keeps them from blocking sunlight and preventing new grasses from growing in their place after the next rainfall.