All around the world, deserts seem to be doing something scary– growing. In Sub-Saharan Africa, experts are called in each year to help build greater environmental infrastructure, or help with educating of better farming practices to fight this slowly-increasing problem. In China, the Gobi Desert is slowly creeping Eastward, forcing the government to relocate tens of thousands of people as “ecological migrants”. In our own backyard, California faces serious struggles in the agricultural industry thanks to seemingly ever-scarcer water. defines desertification as “a process of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas due to various factors including climatic variations and human activities”. It is a process which often debilitates soil and makes the land unsuitable for farming and growth for many years to come.

Since the growth of desertification threatens the use of arable land all across the world, many scientists are searching for ways to reduce desertification around the world. However, this is easier said than done. One Ecologist, Allan Savory, spent decades of his career trying to reduce overgrazing, only to realize later that he had been working against himself all along.

While desertification is challenging to eliminate, there are some ways that it can be reduced. Things you can do include:

One example
is to practice leaving plant residue on drying lands to deteriorate naturally and restore nutrients to the soil. This is something everyone can do in their local garden.
Another way to stop desertification is ensuring that the food you are eating is farmed with healthy practices, and returns nutrients to the soil it’s grown in.

A neat project to check out is the African “Great Green Wall”, a project that aims to revive land that has been wounded by desertification by the replanting of trees and relocation of soil in the area of dying land.

If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, a project in Ethiopia aims to plant 10,000 trees strategically to fight desertification, and the link is here!