Desertification, the spread of deserts into new areas or the creation of deserts where there were none before, is a fairly common problem resulting at least partly from poor farming practices (although it occurs naturally as well). A good historical example is the Dust Bowl, where a combination of drought and humans’ mass removal of plant life from the Great Plains resulted in the formation of a huge corridor of dust where terrible sandstorms were common, and many settlers had to move away.
Perhaps the worst desertification going on today is the spread of the Sahara into central Africa. Deserts in northeastern China, believed to be created by human activity in the first place, are also spreading. Desertification results from the removal of plants, whose root structure holds soil in place, and also seems to be connected to the more extreme weather patterns associated with climate change. Local fixes for the moment include building fences and planting various plants to hold the sand and soil in place.
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