World day to combat desertification and drought

TABERNAS BADLANDS: heavy drought area.

IN 1994 the General Assembly of the United Nations designated June 17 as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

Desertification affects more than 110 countries, among them Spain and in particular Almeria where the Tabernas desert, Europe’s only desert, is located.

This day is set aside to make the general public aware of the problem and the necessity for international cooperation to fight the spread of desertification.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, commented at last year’s meeting “It is difficult to avoid droughts but we can mitigate their effects. The price of being prepared is nothing compared with the price of aiding an emergency drought area. So we must give priority to preparing and improving the world’s resilience to this problem.”

Despite being a wonderful place to film a Western the desert of Tabernas, in Almeria, suffers its own problems as a “heavy drought” area. The principal problem is that when it does rain in the desert it tends to be torrential and, as the desert has very little vegetation, the rain just erodes what little top-soil there is instead of falling to the water table. This leads to the formation of “badlands” which are particularly difficult to recover.

In recent years there have been woriies of creeping desertification of other parts of Spain, particularly parts of Andalucia.

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