Two thirds of Chile faces desertification

Jun 18, 2013
This file photo shows former Humberstone saltpeter near Pozo Almonte in the Atacama Desert of Chile, pictured on November 14, 2012. Two thirds of Chile's territory is facing desertification in which the bone-dry Atacama Desert grows by over a meter a day, President Sebastian Pinera has warned.

Two thirds of Chile's territory is facing desertification in which the bone-dry Atacama Desert grows by over a meter (3.3 feet) a day, President Sebastian Pinera warned.

The changing topography and consequences for the land "is one of the greatest threats to sustained development, and to sustainable development, and to the quality of life of millions of people around the world," Pinera said on Monday, in an address marking World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

"It is estimated that two thirds of our territory, about 48 million hectares (119 million acres), are affected in some measure by desertification," he added.

"This means that more than 1.5 million fellow Chileans are living with and suffering with consequences of this desertification."

In 2007, Chile launched a program that tries to combat the desert's march, involving a series of small dams, cloud seeding to increase rain, reforesting and soil improvement work.

It's a start, but it has not stopped yet.

Explore further: 3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Land degradation causes up to 5% loss in farm output

Apr 09, 2013

Loss of land through desertification and drought costs up to five percent of world agricultural gross domestic product (AGDP), or some $450 billion (340 billion euros), every year, said a study presented ...

China may need 300 years to beat desertification

Jan 05, 2011

Huge population pressures, scarce rainfall and climate change have made China the world's biggest victim of desertification, a problem that could take 300 years to reverse, state media said Wednesday.

Action to improve soil for global food security

Jan 14, 2013

As a society, we are becoming more aware of the many ways we can help support sustainable development and preserve the environment. Governments, scientists and international organisations are calling attention ...

Recommended for you

US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

9 hours ago

Weather forecasters and emergency officials warned Sunday that melting snow would lead to heavy flooding in parts of the US northeast, with hundreds of thousands of people told to brace for fast-rising waters.

3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

Nov 21, 2014

Last week, China and the United States announced an ambitious climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions in both countries, a pledge that marks the first time that China has agreed to stop its growing emissions. ...

From hurricanes to drought, LatAm's volatile climate

Nov 21, 2014

Sixteen years ago, Teodoro Acuna Zavala lost nearly everything when Hurricane Mitch ravaged his fields, pouring 10 days of torrential rains on Central America and killing more than 9,000 people.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Murius
1 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2013
Does more Atacama desert mean better air quality for the VLT?

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.