desertification
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GC: n

S: FAO – http://www.fao.org/docrep/V0265E/V0265E00.htm (last access: 7 July 2016); WHO – http://www.who.int/globalchange/ecosystems/desert/en/ (last access: 7 July 2016).

N: 1. 1973, from desert (n.1) + -fication. In French, désertisation is attested from 1968.
2. Desertification, also called desertization, the process by which natural or human causes reduce the biological productivity of drylands (arid and semiarid lands). Declines in productivity may be the result of climate change, deforestation, overgrazing, poverty, political instability, unsustainable irrigation practices, or combinations of these factors. The concept does not refer to the physical expansion of existing deserts but rather to the various processes that threaten all dryland ecosystems, including deserts as well as grasslands and scrublands.
3. Desertization differs from “desertification” inasmuch as the latter term does not only apply to arid lands, is not necessarily irreversible, and does not necessarily lead to desert landscapes.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=desertification (last access: 7 July 2016). 2. EncBrit – https://global.britannica.com/science/desertification (last access: 7 July 2016). 3. https://goo.gl/uPWlgU (last access: 7 July 2016).

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CR: arid zone, desert, dog days, drought.