Desertification is turning the Earth barren – but a solution is still within reach | David R Montgomery

Desertification is turning the Earth barren – but a solution is still within reach | David R Montgomery

The expansion of drylands is leaving entire countries facing famine. It’s time to change the way we think about agriculture

  • David R Montgomery is professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, and author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

This summer’s record-setting heatwaves and dramatic fires in southern Europe and the American west were stark reminders that the climate crisis has arrived. But as the world warms, there is also a quieter, lesser-known crisis unfolding underfoot. Desertification, long seen primarily as a threat to developing nations, is coming for Europe and North America too, as worsening droughts bake soils already degraded by conventional farming and grazing practices.

In Spain, for example, about a fifth of all land is now at high risk of desertification, as is much of the agricultural land across Italy, Greece, and western North America.

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