News Update on Desertification Research: Jan – 2020

Biological Feedbacks in Global Desertification

Studies of ecosystem processes on the Jornada Experimental home in southern New Mexico suggest that longterm grazing of semiarid grasslands results in a rise within the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of water, nitrogen, and other soil resources. Heterogeneity of soil resources promotes invasion by desert shrubs, which results in an extra localization of soil resources under shrub canopies. within the barren area between shrubs, soil fertility is lost by erosion and gaseous emissions. This regeneration results in the desertification of formerly productive land in southern New Mexico and in other regions, like the Sahel. Future desertification is probably going to be exacerbated by global climate warming and to cause significant changes in global biogeochemical cycles. [1]

Desertification: exploding the myth.

A range of scientific, social, environmental and political issues surrounding desertification are addressed to supply a transparent understanding of how desertification gained its status as a key environmental and social issue and what are and aren’t justifiable aspects of the subject . the event of ideas about changing deserts and therefore the role of anthropogenic activities as contributions to abandon expansion, within the period preceding the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD), is taken into account . The institutionalization of desertification, centred upon UNCOD and therefore the UNEP, is discussed, and therefore the central tenets wont to support its position as a key environmental issue are evaluated. The causes of desertification, and therefore the central scientific issues and up to date developments within the understanding of dryland environments are examined. [2]

Assessing desertification

It is widely known that desertification may be a serious threat to arid and semiarid environments—which cover 40% of the worldwide land surface and are populated by approximately 1 billion humans. Given the potential relevance of this problem, it’s surprising that there’s no consensus on the right thanks to assess the desertification status of a bit of land. During the last 70 years, conflicting definitions have produced both different assessment methodologies and divergent estimates. Contrary to conceptual issues on desertification, assessment methodologies haven’t been reviewed comprehensively. Here, we critically review the foremost common methodologies to assess desertification, and describe their principal consequences on scientific and social arenas. [3]

Water-soluble phosphorus contributes significantly to shaping the community structure of rhizospheric bacteria in rocky desertification areas

Microorganisms play important roles in soil improvement. Therefore, clarifying the contribution of environmental factors in shaping the microbial community structure is useful to enhance soil fertility in karst rocky desertification areas. Here, the bacterial community structures of eight rhizospheric soil samples collected from perennial fruit plantations were analysed using an Illumina HiSeq2500 platform. the range and abundance of bacteria in rocky desertification areas were significantly less than those in non-rocky desertification areas, while the bacterial community structure wasn’t significantly different between root surface and non-root surface soils within the same rhizospheric soil samples. [4]

Evaluation of the Heavy Metals Composition of Soil at E-waste Dumping Sites

Electronic waste (e-waste) has become a topic of growing ecological concern in developing nations thanks to legal/illegal import of electronics from developed countries. Soil samples were collected from e-waste dumping sites in Arakale and Karakata, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. The samples were analysed for heavy metals with the help of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. The mean concentrations of cadmium, lead, chromium, zinc and copper from the 2 locations range from 4.24±0.31 to 9.73±0.39; 113.66±1.03 to 261.63±3.58; 21.42±0.27 to 56.92±0.53; 108.71±0.82 to 197.98±2.22 and 19.79±0.32 to 62.88±0.91 mg/kg respectively. There was a gradual decrease in heavy metals concentrations at various distances faraway from the study site. The mean concentrations of metals observed during this study were found below the recommended standard limits of heavy metals in soil by us Environmental Protection Agency, and therefore the European Union. [5]


[1] Schlesinger, W.H., Reynolds, J.F., Cunningham, G.L., Huenneke, L.F., Jarrell, W.M., Virginia, R.A. and Whitford, W.G., 1990. Biological feedbacks in global desertification. Science, 247(4946), (Web Link)

[2] Thomas, D.S. and Middleton, N.J., 1994. Desertification: exploding the myth. John Wiley and Sons. (Web Link)

[3] Veron, S.R., Paruelo, J.M. and Oesterheld, M., 2006. Assessing desertification. Journal of Arid Environments, 66(4), (Web Link)

[4] Water-soluble phosphorus contributes significantly to shaping the community structure of rhizospheric bacteria in rocky desertification areas
Jinge Xie, Wenzhi Xue, Cong Li, Zongqiang Yan, Dong Li, Guoqiang Li, Xiwen Chen & Defu Chen
Scientific Reports volume 9, (Web Link)

[5] Adewumi, B., Akingunsola, E., P. Femi-Oloye, O. and F. Oloye, F. (2018) “Evaluation of the Heavy Metals Composition of Soil at E-waste Dumping Sites”, Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology, 5(4), (Web Link)

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