Desert & Desertification

Dr. Asma Ali Abahussain
Director, Desert and Arid Zones Sciences Program

Arabian Gulf University

Contents
‡ Introduction
± Desert ± Types of Deserts

‡ Desert Ecosystem ‡ Land degradation and Desertification of Drylands
± Types of land degradation

‡ Desertification in Bahrain ‡ Sand Dunes (Types, movements and Fixation).

Desert

Desert is an area with a dry climate with less than 250mm of rain a year.

Deserts are found in all regions, cover more than 40 per cent of the Earth and are home to nearly 2 billion people -- one-third of the world·s population.

‡ Types of Desert
- Subtropical Desert ± are found around the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. - Deserts on Leeward side of major Mountain ranges Rain shadow. - Interior Deserts- center of continents far from ocean Continental - Coastal desert- prevailing onshore wind cooled by cold ocean current - Polar deserts- extremely cold and dry

The world¶s major deserts like the Sahara and the Kalahari.

However, deserts may experience no rain at all for years, then it receives a heavy downfall, or flash flood.

Drylands are characterized by low rainfall (less than 100mmm) and high rates of evaporation (water stress).

Dryland are harsh dry environments, where few people dryland peoples have succeeded in having sustainable lifestyles and management practices that maintain the delivery of dryland ecosystem services.

nomadic pastoralism

Dryland Ecosystems
Nevertheless many species of flora and fauna have adapted to live in deserts, and they support a wide diversity of life.

Dryland ecosystems with their biological diversity are fundament al to the livelihoods of the people inhabiting

Ecosystem Services The benefits people obtain from ecosystems
2005

Services of Desert Ecosystem

Provisioning Services
Goods produced or provided by ecosystems

‡Food
± Crops ± Livestock ± Wild Foods

‡Fiber
± Timber ± Cotton, hemp, silk ± Wood Fuel

‡Genetic resources ‡Biochemicals ‡Traditional medicines ‡Freshwater

Services of Desert Ecosystem

Regulating Services
Benefits obtained from regulation of ecosystem processes ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Air Quality Regulation Climate Regulation Erosion regulation Water purification Disease regulation Pest regulation Pollination Natural Hazard regulation

Services of Desert Ecosystem

Cultural Services
on-material benefits obtained from ecosystems

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Knowledge Systems Educational values Inspiration Aesthetic Values Social Relations Sense of Place Recreation and Ecotourism ‡ Spiritual and Religious (Meditation)

Services of Desert Ecosystem

Supporting Services
on-material benefits obtained from ecosystems

Nutrient Cycles ‡ Soil Formation ‡

people living in drylands depend heavily on Ecosystems services for their basic needs.

What is unique about Dryland Ecosystems ?
It is Easily disrupted, and slow to recover
Dryland ecosystems are highly vulnerable to degradation

Desertification
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification defines desertification as "the degradation of the land in arid, semiarid and sub-humid dry areas caused by various factors, including climatic changes and human activities".

Consequences of Ecosystem Change for Human Well-being

These ecosystem services are in decline as land is being degraded

Aspects which involved in acceleration of land degradation Overgrazing are:
Premature Grazing Ephemerals annual

Wood harvesting
Perennials

Calligonum comosum

Desert Agriculture

Agricultural expansion in Saudi Arabia utilizing fossil groundwater

Drylands contain 43 per cent of the world·s cultivated lands. Land degradation causes an estimated loss of US $42 billion a year from agricultural production. Nearly one-third of the world·s cropland has been abandoned in the past 40 years because erosion has made it unproductive. Each year an additional 20 million hectares of agricultural land either becomes too degraded for crop production, or.....

Loss of Agricultural Lands By Groundwater Salinization
Groundwater Quality Deterioration Due to OverExploitation Saline Irrigation Water

Desertification of Agricultural Land & Abandonment

Soil Salinization Further Soil Salinization & Groundwater Quality Deterioration More Irrigation Water Used For Leaching Salts from Soil Top Layer

Arid Climatic Conditions & High Evaporation Rates

Water-logging Due to Inefficient Irrigation Drainage

Reclamation through leaching of excess salts increases water consumption, thereby putting additional pressure on the limited water resources.

becomes lost to urban spread out

1/12/2005

?
March 2004

Spring Camping Kuwait

Soil Salinization

Water erosion ‡The loss of top soil resulting in a decline in fertility and thus in land productivity. ‡Loss of biodiversity of fauna and flora Collaboration of wind and water

Dust storms are a growing problem in many areas, affecting the health of people and ecosystems both locally and at a great distance.

Sand Storm, 26 April 2005. Al Asad, IRAQ

Restoring soil lost by erosion is a slow process. It can take 200 years for 1 cm of soil to form.

loss of top soil

Declining infiltration rates in the degraded and barren soils reduce the seasonal availability and quantity of indispensable water resources. Recurrent droughts reinforce this process of environmental S ´aridification´.

Wind erosion causes the encroachment and accumulation of sands on productive rangelands and agricultural land, urban areas and civil construction.

land degradation
DPSIR framework for the Land Degradation Assessment in Dryland project (LADA)
MACRO-ECONOMIC POLICIES LAND USE DEVELOPMENT POPULATION GROWTH POVERTY LAND USE LAND TENURE CONDITION EXTREME CLIMATE EVENTS/CHANGE NATURAL DISASTERS WATER STRESS MACRO ECONOMIC POLICIES LAND POLICIES AND POLICY INSTRUMENTS CONSERVATION AND REHABILITATION MONITORING AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS INVESTMENTS IN LAND AND WATER RESURCES

DRIVING FORCES
LAND PRODUCTIVITY DECLINE SOIL DEGRADATION & SOIL CONTAMINATION SOIL EROSION SOIL SALINIZATION LOSS OF VEGETATION COVER LOSS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY .

RESPONSES

DEMANDS FROM SECTORS AGRICULTURE, URBAIN ...etc NUTRIENT MINING DEMANDS FOR WASTE DISPOSAL POPULATION GROWTH OVER CULTIVATION, OVER GRAZING, DEMANDS FOR WATER USES

PRESSURES

IMPACTS

STATE

LAND PRODUCTIVITY DECLINE POVERTY AND MIGRATION LAND GOODS AND SERVICES WATER CYCLE AND QUALITY CARBON STORAGE CAPACITY DECLINE HABITAT DESTRUCTION AND LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY CHANGE IN HUMAN POPULATION SIZE AND SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OTHER OFF-SITE IMPACTS

The Land Degradation Assessment in Dryland project (LADA). LADA e-mail conference E-mail conference 9 th of October - 4 th of November 2002

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