Deserts Advancing at an Increasing Pace
A report by the U.S. Embassy in China entitled "Desert Mergers and Acquisitions" describes satellite images showing the two deserts in Mongolia and Gansu provinces China expanding and merging to form a single, larger desert. To the west in Xinjiang Province, two even larger deserts, the Taklimakan and Kumtag, are also expanding toward each other. To the east, the Gobi Desert is now withing 150 miles of Bejing.
The deserts are expanding at an increasing rate; up from 600 square miles a year between 1950 and 1975 to nearly 1,400 square miles by 2000.
Over the last half-century some 24,000 Chinese villages have been abandoned or depopulated by advancing deserts.
In Afghanistan, a U.N Environment Program team has been tracking the advance of the Registan Desert. Up to 100 villages have been submerged by sand and roads have been blocked by 60 foot sand dunes.
In Iran, sand storms have buried 124 villages in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, and covered grazing areas.
Nigeria is losing 1,355 square miles of rangeland and cropland. In Mexico, the degredation of cropland forces 700,000 Mexicans off the land each year, many coming to the U.S. searching for jobs. Even tropical Brazil is experiencing advancing deserts.
With 70 million more people in the world each year, the growth of human and livestock populations continue to degrade the land and hasten desertification.