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Climate more than land misuse spreading deserts

Source:  Copyright 2007, Reuters
Date:  September 12, 2007
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Climate change has become the prime cause of an accelerating spread of deserts which threatens the world's drylands, the United Nations' top climate official said on Wednesday.

Yvo de Boer said that, although growing populations in dry areas were putting serious stress on the environment through over-grazing, water demand, deforestation and other activities, climate change was the greater threat.

"Climate change will change weather patterns even more ... especially in Africa, rainfall is decreasing and climate change is exacerbating desertification. Climate change is probably the biggest factor," said de Boer, who was speaking on the sidelines of a U.N. desertification conference in Madrid.

Drylands, including many in crop producing areas, cover 41 percent of the world's land surface, of which 10-20 percent are already degraded.

De Boer added that desertification would, in turn, speed up climate ...

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