The desert is dying

February 14, 2007

Researchers from University of Bergen have found that trees, which are a main resource for desert people and their flocks, are in significant decline in the hyper-arid Eastern Desert of Egypt.

In places more than 50% of the mature trees have disappeared between 1965 and 2003, while almost no new trees have been recruited. Despite extreme aridity the main cause of tree mortality seems not to be climate, but commercial charcoal production. This indicates that the traditional and sustainable indigenous resource management, which desert people have developed through millennia, is changing.

Desertification has been recurrently discussed and questioned since the 1970s. The focus has been on desert borderlands, while changes in sparse but important vegetation resources within the desert core have been neglected.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Spiders are among most effective predators of plant pests

Related Stories

The Sahara olive tree: A genetic heritage to be preserved

May 3, 2013

The Saharan cousin of Mediterranean olive trees remains largely unknown. However, this subspecies (called the Laperinne's olive tree) is of great interest for several reasons. IRD researchers and their partners showed that ...

New model predicts maximum tree height across the US

July 18, 2011

The next time you're outdoors, see if you can spot the tallest tree. If you're in the desert Southwest, this may be an easy task — trees there are few and far between, and tend to hunch low to the ground to conserve ...

How trees manage water in arid environments

January 3, 2007

Water scarcity is slowly becoming a fact of life in increasingly large areas. The summer of 2006 was the second warmest in the continental United States since records began in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data ...

Recommended for you

Did meteorites bring life's phosphorus to Earth?

August 30, 2016

Meteorites that crashed onto Earth billions of years ago may have provided the phosphorous essential to the biological systems of terrestrial life. The meteorites are believed to have contained a phosphorus-bearing mineral ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.