[ 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 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for desertification

British Dictionary definitions for desertification

/ (dɪˌzɜːtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən) /


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

Science definitions for desertification

[ dĭ-zûr′tə-fĭ-kāshən ]

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.