As a part of the global environment, deserts are important to maintaining biodiversity, as there are many species that can only survive in a desert environment.
Desertification, however, is a dangerous effect of climate change, in which dryland areas are degraded, often by human overuse.
As one anecdotal example: dust floating from the Sahara desert in northern Africa, over thousands of years, fertilized soil in South America to give way to the Amazon rain forest. That is to say, the largest desert on earth is largely responsible for the largest source of terrestrial biodiversity (see link below).
This example should illustrate how intricately interdependent each ecosystem is, and why deserts, too – though seemingly devoid of things useful to life – are absolutely vital.
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