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Desertification: A serious threat to southern Europe lands

Source(s):  Forbes Media LLC

By Ana Garcia Valdivia


Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. These are the EU countries that will be particularly affected by desertification and therefore, more likely to lose natural resources in the coming years. The increases in temperatures, droughts, and less precipitation has made southern Europe vulnerable to problems such as “lower food production, soil infertility, decreases in the land’s natural resilience, and reduced water quality” as the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has pointed out in its report "Combating desertification in the EU."

In other words, the economic model of production will be soon under threat. To resist this evolution, not only the EU must increase its efforts in fighting climate change, but also it is necessary to develop a specific legal framework for desertification and land degradation.  Currently, there is a range of action plans such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU Forest Strategy, or the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, “which are relevant to combating desertification, but which do not focus on it,” the ECA advises.


The good news is that there is scope for action. In addition to fighting climate change, countries can make a difference by regulating certain irresponsible human activities, as the overuse or inefficient use of water. Following the example of Spain, the organization WWF has indicated that the lack of water is not the main cause of droughts and, instead, points out to the water consumption model, which prioritizes the irrigation sector through poor irrigation techniques.


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  • Publication date 30 Jul 2019

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