Desertification | Weather & Climate | VOL. 9, ISSUE 52, January-February 2009

Arid Western India: Land Degradation and Climate Change

Land degradation is one of the most potential environmental threats for any nation, more so where the livelihood of people depends largely on agriculture and related land based activities. Although land degradation is common to all climatic zones of the world, its occurrence in the arid, semi arid and dry sub humid zones - the drylands, is of more concern because of the low production potentials of the land in these zones vis-à-vis high human and animal population pressures that often tend to exceed the carrying capacity of the land under prevailing doable technologies, and ultimately lead to acceleration of the natural processes.   [caption id="attachment_4245" align="aligncenter" width="1395"] MSS - Multispectral Scanner and ETM -Enhanced Thematic Mapper Both these scanners are on board the Landsat satellites of USA and are in False Colour Composition (FCC) of different wavelength bands which explains why the colour compositions are different in the two images.[/caption]   Land degradation in the drylands is also called desertification. The major processes of desertification include wind and water erosion, waterlogging, salinisation and vegetation degradation, while industrial pollution and mine-spoils on good quality land are also fast becoming significant processes. Since the problems are more acute in the arid lands and their fringes, desertification, by common perception is a problem of the arid areas. In India the arid western part of Rajasthan and Gujarat are...

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