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    The population growth and desertification crisis.

    Milas S

    Mazingira. 1985; 8(4):28-31.

    Desertification is a result of overexploitation of the land through overcultivation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices. This process is a result of the growing imbalance between population, resources, environment, and development. The principle problem causing desertification is not population increase per se; rather, it is due to mismanagement of the land. However, rapidly increasing population densities in the drylands of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have upset the former balance upon which subsistence agriculture depended, including long fallow periods to allow the land to regain its fertility. Arable land for the world as a whole is projected to decrease from its 1975 level of .31 ha/person to .15 ha/person by the year 2000. Population increases in the remaining croplands are expected to produce further encroachment on rangelands and forests and increased ecologic degradation, in turn producing further population pressure, poverty, land degradation, and desertification. The basic need is for better resource utilization. Halting desertification requires the restoration of the balance between man and land. Development, good resource management, and use of appropriate technologic advances are key factors. There is also a crucial need for each country to relate its population policy to its resource base and development plans. Population increase cannot continue indefinitely without regard for the realities of resources, development, and the environment.
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