Deserts and semi-deserts are the least populated areas of the Earth. The average density is - 1 person per 4-5 square meters. km, so you can walk for weeks without meeting a single person. The climate of deserts and semi-deserts is dry, with low humidity, characterized by huge fluctuations in air temperature of day and night indicators within 25-40 degrees Celsius. Precipitation occurs here every few years. Due to the specific climatic conditions, a peculiar world of flora and fauna has formed in the desert and semi-desert zone.
Scientists say that the deserts themselves are the main environmental problem of the planet, namely the desertification process, as a result of which nature loses a huge number of plant and animal species, and is not able to recover on its own.
Types of deserts and semi-deserts
According to the ecological classification, the following types of deserts and semi-deserts exist:
- arid - in the tropics and subtropics, has a hot, dry climate;
- anthropogenic - appears as a result of harmful human activities;
- populated - has rivers and oases, which become places of residence of people;
- industrial - the environment is disturbed by the production activities of people;
- Arctic - has ice and snow cover, where animals are practically not found.
It was found that many deserts have significant reserves of oil and gas, as well as precious metals, which caused the development of people in these territories. Oil production increases the level of danger. In the event of an oil spill, entire ecosystems are destroyed.
Another environmental issue is poaching, which destroys biodiversity. Due to lack of moisture, there is a problem of lack of water. Another problem is dust and sand storms. In general, this is not a complete list of all the existing problems of deserts and semi-deserts.
If we talk more about the environmental problems of semi-deserts, then the main problem is their expansion. So many semi-deserts are transitional natural zones with steppes in the desert, but under the influence of certain factors, they increase the territory and also turn into deserts. Most of this process is stimulated by anthropogenic activity - cutting down trees, destroying animals, building industrial facilities, and depleting the soil. As a result of this, the semi-desert does not have enough moisture, the plants die out, like some animals, and some migrate. So the semi-desert quickly turns into a lifeless (or almost lifeless) desert.
Ecological problems of arctic deserts
Arctic deserts are located at the north and south poles, where the minus temperature prevails almost all the time, it snows and a huge number of glaciers lie. Arctic and Antarctic deserts formed without human influence. The normal winter temperature is from -30 to -60 degrees Celsius, and in summer it can rise to +3 degrees. The average annual rainfall is 400 mm. Since the desert surface is covered with ice, there are practically no plants, except for lichens and mosses. Animals are accustomed to harsh climate conditions.
Over time, the Arctic deserts also experienced negative human influence. As humans invaded, the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems began to change. So industrial fishing has led to a reduction in their populations. Every year, the number of seals and walruses, polar bears and Arctic foxes is reduced here. Some species are on the verge of extinction due to humans.
Scientists have identified significant mineral reserves in the Arctic desert zone. After that, their production began, and this is not always successful. Accidents sometimes occur, and oil spills into ecosystems, harmful substances enter the atmosphere, and the global biosphere is polluted.
It is impossible not to touch on the topic of global warming. Abnormal heat contributes to the melting of glaciers in both the southern and northern hemispheres. As a result of this, the territories of Arctic deserts are reduced, and the water level in the World Ocean rises. This contributes not only to changes in ecosystems, but also to the movement of some species of flora and fauna to other areas and their partial extinction.
Thus, the problem of deserts and semi-deserts becomes global. Their number increases only due to the fault of a person, so you need to not only think about how to suspend this process, but also take radical measures to preserve nature.