Desertification and soil aridity have led to the extinction of animals such as the Indian Cheetah, Pink-headed duck, and the Great Indian Bustard in India.
What is Desertification or Soil Aridity?
“Desertification is the excess use of insecticides and pesticides, conversion of forest land to agricultural land, industries and chemicals and indiscriminate development that has caused harmful effects on the lives of animals living, along with loss of water bodies and vegetation .”
Through a database of 5.6 million specimens collected from across the country and its neighbours, researchers state that there has been a drastic change in the environment and that its no good news. The data collected dates to years before 1947, i.e. India’s Independence.
Researchers who attended the 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) addressed the severity of the issue.
While speaking to ANI (Asian News International (ANI), an Indian news agency), Kailash Chandra, Director of the Zoological Survey of India said, “If you see their distribution in geo-special platforms, you’ll realise how much changes have occurred because of the impact of deforestation and desertification. Many more are on the verge of becoming extinct and therefore fall into the category of critically endangered species. These specimens have reduced to less than 150. This is a matter of great concern.”
Desertification and land degradation are some of the biggest threats to India’s agriculture. Almost 30% of the country’s land is undergoing degradation.