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[dih-zur-tuh-fi-key-shuh n] /dɪˌzɜr tə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən/
noun, Ecology
the processes by which an area becomes a desert.
the rapid depletion of plant life and the loss of topsoil at desert boundaries and in semiarid regions, usually caused by a combination of drought and the overexploitation of grasses and other vegetation by people.
Also, desertization
[dez-er-tuh-zey-shuh n] /ˌdɛz ər təˈzeɪ ʃən/ (Show IPA)
Compare aridification.
Origin of desertification
1970-75; desert1 + -i- + -fication Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for desertification
  • Few put eyes on crying trees, warming climate, and desertification of land.
  • It is understood that deforestation reduces available water and increases desertification.
  • Where the trees have been cut, the land is often degraded and desertification has set in as topsoil washes away.
  • Early and current agricultural practises leads to desertification.
  • And if that happens, it will contribute tremendously to desertification.
  • Scientists say climate change, misuse of water, and desertification are all contributing to its decline.
  • Warming will cause desertification and more extreme weather.
  • They are dying from thirst, hunger and the by-product of desertification.
  • Call it reverse desertification, the trickle-up theory.
  • But qat crops are water-intensive, and their cultivation is a reason for the ongoing desertification of the country.
British Dictionary definitions for desertification


a process by which fertile land turns into barren land or desert
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for desertification

1973, from desert (n.1) + -fication. In French, désertisation is attested from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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desertification in Science
The transformation of land once suitable for agriculture into desert. Desertification can result from climate change or from human practices such as deforestation and overgrazing.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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