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What is desertification?

Desertification is a global phenomenon, often characterized by significant human-induced pressures as it is largely caused by unsustainable use of scarce resources. It is the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems.  Desertification has environmental impacts that go beyond the areas directly affected. For instance, loss of vegetation can increase the formation of large dust clouds that can cause health problems in more densely populated areas, thousands of kilometers away. Moreover, the social and political impacts of desertification also reach non-dryland areas. For example, human migrations from drylands to cities and other countries can harm political and economic stability.