World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

June 17 - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Drought is not just the absence of rain and other forms of precipitation. It is fueled by land degradation and the climate crisis. Drought is not only lack of water but also leads to changes in soil properties and degradation of soils. 

Man-made climate change has led to an increased risk of drought almost everywhere in the world, and the devastating impacts of drought reach much further than the dry regions of our planet. Droughts and the creeping desertification in many areas around the world are causing huge and increasing economic losses. 

Studies have shown that within Armenia, approximately 80 percent of the lands are threatened by desertification in various degrees, and more than half of the country's area is threatened by severe desertification. Over the past 30 years, Armenia has seen an increase in mean temperature and hot winds, as well as a decrease in precipitation and humidity, with the increasing occurrence of drought destabilizing food production and affecting the economy. 

In dealing with drought, the world only very slowly is shifting from a reactive and crisis-based approach to a proactive and risk-based drought management approach. The nature-based solutions and, among them, the regeneration of forests and the increase of tree cover through agroforestry and reforestation are particularly promising. 

In recent years forestation and agroforestry have been proposed as potential tools in climate-change mitigation strategies, contributing to water retention and water recycling over the land surfaces, leading to build-up of organically enriched soil, with increased water-holding capacity and contributing to surface roughness, which increases turbulence and slows down the air passing overhead, thus maintaining more moisture locally and increasing rainfall locally and downwind.

Planting trees in new forests and agroforestry systems that also economically benefit people is thus a means to combat desertification and drought and to mitigate and adapt to climate change.



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