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Desertification In Sub Sahara Africa Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2017 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Without a doubt, Planet Earth is just the right place for humanity to dwell in. Planet Earth is deteriorating due to the issues and problems cause by humanity and natural disasters. Earth faces many problems daily and the effects are immense toward humanity. Some parts of earth are worse than others due to the irresponsibility of population. Sub-Sahara Africa suffers from many problems like soil erosion, deforestation, and desertification but Sub-Sahara Africa’s main issue is desertification. Many regions in Sub-Sahara Africa face massive effects of desertification. In Sub-Sahara Africa the society is changing due to desertification and the effects it has on society and furthermore desertification is slowly growing and it is a main problem in Africa due to the African tropical weather and the carelessness of the people’s work toward the land.

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Sub-Sahara Africa is one of the main places where desertification is occurring due to the overuse of land and irresponsibility of the population. Using land without superior knowledge and good understanding people cause the land to deteriorates. There are many causes of land desertification in Sub-Sahara Africa and many of them are natural causes. One of the natural causes that root the land to deteriorate is soil erosion. Soil erosion is when the topsoil is remove or taken away faster than the forming of soil can take place (Welcome to the European Soil Portal). Soil erosion happens all around the world in each year. When soil erosion happens, the good soils are washed away leaving only the bad, hard soil left for farmers to farm, so without the thin soil layer, barley anything could grow in it. Soil erosion will take a short time to destroy excellent soils where good soils take extremely long time to make. In Ethiopia about one million tons of top soil is lost every year where there are soil erosions (William Von Cotthern). The second natural cause of land desertification is draught; and draught is one of the main causes of desertification in Africa. Every year there are draughts. “The Sudano-Sahel region, for instance, has experienced unpredictable and severe drought, the most recent of which lasted almost 20 years” (Lilian Ahianga). Drought could last a very long time and when it lasts that long, the society will be in danger. Over 25 countries in the continent have faced shortage of food over a decade ago due to the long lasting of drought (Lilian Ahianga). Without rain for a very lengthy time, land could be tough to farm and afterward the land will be unusable for anything. Draught affects a massive amount of dry lands and with several droughts each year, dry land degradation increases. Factors like the growth of human and animal population could also cause desertification (Lilian Ahianga).

Land desertifications not only are they being caused by natural disasters but are also being degrades by humanity. The over using of land is one of the many ways where humanity could cause land degradation. Farmers and workers and using land over and over again without letting the land rest and grow back. Farmers not allowing grass and land to grow back after animal grazed on them. Animals keep on grazing on them until they turn brown or red and are no longer able to grow. Colonial scientists blame the African farmers and herders as the cause of the spread of desertification (Gregory Maddox). They overgrazed of land and burn down forest for savannah.

The second problem is that there are too many people for one small place. There are too many people living on one small place where things are being used every day over and over again, leaving the land no time to grow. Trees and resources do not have enough time to actually grow back. Once they are cut, and are regenerating, animals would come and eat them. The main reason is that there are more people who cut down trees than those who plant them. The populations are cutting down trees faster than trees are able to grow. People did not allow the cut trees to grow back instead they let the animals graze on them. About 30,000 kilometer square per year of trees is cut down (Aldo Bonincontro). Destroying trees increases the growth of desertification in Africa. Desertification in Africa causes many problems for the population (Jorn Laxen).

In Sub-Sahara Africa, desertification plays a big role in the population’s poverty. Many people, not only in Africa, have been affected by Desertification. Desertification has many effects on the world today, especially in Africa itself. There are many effects cause by desertification, such as: deaths, diseases and poverties. Thousands of people die due to starvation. Starvation is the negative outcome of desertification of land which leads to deaths. Besides people dying every month. “Death in Sub-Sahara Africa leads to the deaths of an estimated 3 million people in the mid-1980s” (P.C Sinha). The affects of desertification could cause deaths to countless people. Degraded lands are no longer able to provide crops, food for animals, and even firewood for burning. Poverty is also a main reason why there is poverty in Africa. Million of people could have insufficient of food because of the declining of crops yield. “The result is that Sub-Sahara Africa is the only region in the world where food production is stagnating, and hunger is on the rise” (Jan Baert). Hunger and poverty is rising due to the slow and little production of crops. Desertification causes farming to slow down and produce little amount of resources. Since there is little of crops and resources, the economy then will raise the prices of items such as rice because they are scarce. This will greatly affect the lower class people (Lilian Ahranga).

For every problem and issue, there are preventions and solution. Desertification must be stopped and governments and organizations have been stepping in to help out. Many methods had already been done to help land degradation; methods such as redressing of vegetation cover and controlling soil erosion. “The problem appears to be a lack of knowledge and probably also the economic constraints that prevent the optimum utilization of these valuable resources” (Jorn Laxen). One the best way to prevent desertification is simply education. The government and organization should give some sort of education the population, especially farmers. Teaching them how to farm and to use the land properly in the right way where land will not be destroyed; is one of the main prevention of land degradation. The second way to prevent land degradation is to protect the environmental resources that are available to them. If they use it carelessly and destroyed them completely, they will have a hard time growing back, and besides it will take them a lengthy time to grow. “Adopt sustainable land-use policies and sustainable management of water resources” (P.C Sinha). Being able to maintain the soil fertility properly is also helpful. In 2005 the World Bank and NEPAD launched the TerrAfrica by mobilizing coalitions, knowledge and raising money for Africa (Jan Baert).

Alan Paton, the author of Cry, the Beloved Country, used desertification as an influence to write Cry, the Beloved Country. The author chooses to use desertification as one of the main problem to why people moved from countryside to the city. In chapter one of Cry, the beloved Country, Paton compared the good land with the degraded land. “Where you stand the grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. But the rich green hills break down… for they grow red and bared; they cannot hold the rain and mist, and the streams are dry in the kloofs.Too many cattle feed upon the grass, and too many fires have burned it” (33). The book started out talking about the problem of the land as a symbolism that it will effects on the characters in the book. All the young men and strong girls left the place to go to the city to look for work because the land could give them nothing. “The men are away, the young men and the girls are away. The soil cannot keep them any more” (34). Boys and girls left the place because of the degraded land. And because of the movements from country side to the city, the city could not hold all of them. That was one of the problems in the society that time, there were more people in the city than the country side. Most of them have to live on the streets. And that is why there were so many black miners in the city.

In chapter 30 the land is still in devastation. There were no rains for the land and for farming. Paton stated, “…the soil is sick almost beyond healing…they cannot plough or plant, and there will be hunger in this valley” (253). The degraded land dreadfully effects the society. It seems like it is impossible to recover to its standard form. If the land can not be healed, the society as well can not be healed. As long as the land stays the way they are now, the society can not move on. Things will never stay the same as they are if hard works are putted in. In chapter 32 there was hope at last for the land and for the society there, rain finally came. “But it was this for which all men were waiting, the rain at last” (277). Rain finally came, and there was hope. Hope could only be there if the people actually know how to farm and take care of the land.

Desertification happens due to the natural causes like soil erosion and draught, but mostly due to the cause by humanity. Desertification can be prevented if educations and learning are spread to the population. Teach the population how to farm and how to carefully use the resources is the first step to preventing land degradation. The society will be in a better shape and healthier conditions if the environments are clean and well taken cared of. Take care of the environments and in return the environments will take care of you.


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