The process of land degradation which leads to a drastic reduction of land productivity. Land is rendered unsuitable for any productive activity. It is prevalent in arid and semi-arid areas. Its causes are both natural (dry climate, low rainfall, water shortage) as well as anthropogenic (overgrazing, deforestation, fires, intensive cultivation).
The progressive destruction or degradation of existing vegetative cover to form desert. This can occur due to overgrazing, deforestation, drought, and the burning of extensive areas. Once formed, deserts can only support a sparse range of vegetation. Climatic effects associated with this phenomenon include increased albedo, reduced atmospheric humidity, and greater atmospheric dust (aerosol) loading.
the process of a non-desert ecosystem taking on the characteristics of a desert (arid, seemingly barren) as a result of land mismanagement or climate change