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desertification

[dih-zur-tuh-fi-key-shuh n]
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noun Ecology.
  1. the processes by which an area becomes a desert.
  2. 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.
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Also des·ert·i·za·tion [dez-er-tuh-zey-shuh n] /ˌdɛz ər təˈzeɪ ʃən/.
Compare aridification.

Origin of desertification

First recorded in 1970–75; desert1 + -i- + -fication
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for desertification

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Desertification does not occur in linear, easily mappable patterns.

    Deserts

    A. S. Walker

  • The presence of a nearby desert has no direct relationship to desertification.

    Deserts

    A. S. Walker

  • Desertification may intensify a general climatic trend toward greater aridity, or it may initiate a change in local climate.

    Deserts

    A. S. Walker

  • There is no consensus among researchers as to the specific causes, extent, or degree of desertification.

    Deserts

    A. S. Walker


British Dictionary definitions for desertification

desertification

noun
  1. a process by which fertile land turns into barren land or desert
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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

Word Origin and History for desertification

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

desertification in Science

desertification

[dĭ-zûr′tə-fĭ-kāshən]
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.