3c. Biophysical Causes of Desertification: Wind

Biophysical factors, such as wind also play a role in soil erosion and land degradation through dust storms. In the Sahel, powerful wind storms can sweep across several countries, carrying with it drought stricken top soil in dust storms.  Dust storms are often generated where the ground has been stripped of vegetative cover by cultivation or grazing. The path of dust from a single desert storm can be traced as far as 4,000 km (2,500 miles) (Schmidt 2001). The natural process of; rock erosion by wind and rainfall, the nitrogen cycle, and sources of organic matter is disrupted through the biophysical factor of wind combining with human intervention through land degradation: over-cultivation and poor irrigation and rainwater-runoff management.

 

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