25% of India Turning to Desert

Desertification, degradation could threaten food security

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2014 12:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Nearly a quarter of India's land is turning to desert thanks to over-use of land, heavy grazing, and changing rainfall patterns, says the country's environment minister. He warns "land is becoming barren," and notes that could threaten food security in a country that houses 17% of the world's population on just 2% of its land, Reuters reports. Forbes points out 25% desertification is a much higher figure than the one an Indian scientific council put forth in 2007. At the time, it said it said roughly 10% of the country's land would become unusable desert by 2050, and by its calculations, India wouldn't hit the 25% threshold for at least a century. At this point, land degradation—which indicates a loss of productivity —is believed to be affecting 32% of the country's land.

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 photo, Indian tourists enjoy riding a horse in the Thar Desert, about 311 miles from Ahmadabad, India.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian participant flies a train of kites at the International Kite Festival in the Thar Desert, in Dhordo, India.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
An Indian participant flies a train of kites at the International Kite Festival in the Thar Desert, in Dhordo, India.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 photo, Indian tourists enjoy camel ride in Thar Desert, about 311 miles from Ahmadabad, India.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 photo, Indian tourists enjoy camel ride in Thar Desert, about 311 miles from Ahmadabad, India.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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