de·​sert·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ di-ˌzər-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce desertification (audio) \

Definition of desertification

: the process of becoming desert (as from land mismanagement or climate change)

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Other Words from desertification

desertify \ di-​ˈzər-​tə-​ˌfī How to pronounce desertify (audio) \ transitive verb

Examples of desertification in a Sentence

The organization was awarded for its efforts to prevent further desertification in Africa.

Recent Examples on the Web

This process, known as desertification, is not caused by drought, but usually arises from deforestation and the demands of human populations that settle on the semi-arid lands. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Deserts, explained," 12 June 2019 As the planet warms, weather patterns change, and lakes and rivers dry up as desertification takes hold. Matt Simon, WIRED, "New IPCC Report Shows How Our Abuse of Land Drives Climate Change," 8 Aug. 2019 The biotech world will need to provide more drought-resistant crop varieties for dry regions at risk of losing their farmland to desertification, for example, or insect-resistant varieties to combat changes in the geographic ranges of pest species. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "New IPCC report shows land use is part of solution to climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 But Mongolia’s nomads are also being pushed off the land, as mining accelerates desertification of grasslands, through the mines’ heavy groundwater use and destruction of vegetation. Beth Gardiner, National Geographic, "Kids suffer most in one of Earth's most polluted cities," 26 Mar. 2019 Higher temperatures promote the degradation of land through drought, desertification and rising seas, and the promotion of wildfires like the ones currently blazing in Alaska, Siberia and Greenland. The Economist, "Gloom from the climate-change front line," 10 Aug. 2019 But on the whole, the report finds that climate change is already hurting the availability of food because of decreased yields and lost land from erosion, desertification and rising seas, among other things. Christopher Flavelle,, "Climate change threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns," 8 Aug. 2019 That’s fueling desertification, which will make the more than 500 million people living in degraded areas more vulnerable to further changes in the climate. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Report: we have to change how we use land and produce food to fight climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 As of 2015, five hundred million people lived in areas that were affected by desertification. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "Deforestation, Agriculture, and Diet Are Fuelling the Climate Crisis," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desertification.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desertification

1972, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for desertification

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

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The first known use of desertification was in 1972

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English Language Learners Definition of desertification

technical : the process by which an area becomes a desert

More from Merriam-Webster on desertification

Nglish: Translation of desertification for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about desertification

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