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Desertification and Impact on Sustainability of Human Systems

  • David MouatEmail author
  • Scott Thomas
  • Judith Lancaster
Reference work entry
  • 450 Downloads
Part of the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology Series book series (ESSTS)

Glossary

Adaptation

Changes made by organisms, including humans, to enable them to be more suitable for different conditions or situations.

Desertification

The gradual degradation of habitable land which affects soils, flora, and fauna and reduces productivity and an ecosystem’s ability to adapt. It is caused by various factors, including natural dynamics, climatic condition, and human activities. Direct causes of desertification include wind and water erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, land conversion to crop land, irrigation leading to salinization, and other physical stressors leading to soil loss, soil compaction, loss of vegetative cover, loss of biodiversity, and degradation in ecosystem productivity. Indirect causes include climate variation, poverty, political instability, lack of education, or a combination of factors.

Drought

A period of reduced precipitation resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Earth and Ecosystem SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • James LaMoreaux
    • 1
  1. 1.P.E. LaMoreaux & Associates, Inc.TuscaloosaUSA

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