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Desertification - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore


What’s in news?

Water table in Barkitand village of Giridih district has fallen from 8 metre below the ground level in 2013 to about 10 m in 2017.

Key data’s:

  • Undulating topography is a major factor for soil erosion in most parts of Jharkhand. 
  • Central, Southwestern and Northern regions of the state experienced a temperature increase of 0.077-0.54 degrees Celsius between 1984 and 2014 and a 26-270 mm decline in cumulative rainfall.
  • The study was published on Science Direct in April 2018.
  • Jharkhand, one of the states where 50 per cent of the total area is under desertification and land degradation. The other states were Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa.

Various statistical data:

  • According to a 2015 NITI Aayog report on Jharkhand, undulating top sequences of the state combined with rainfed agriculture have led to massive degradation of soil, diverse agricultural practices and low productivity.
  • According to the Jharkhand Climate Action Plan of 2014, between 2000 and 2014, the state experienced the highest number of heatwaves in its history.
  • State of Forests’ report: Between 2005 and 2017, the percentage of area under forest compared with the total geographical area of Giridih has slightly increased from 820 square km in 2005 to 890 sq km in 2017, the ‘very dense forest’ has declined at the expense of ‘open forest’. The ‘very dense forest’ has reduced from 98 sq km to 77 sq km.

Reason for desertification:

The major reason it mentioned in the report was;


  • Giridih where 74 per cent of the district is under degradation because it is the part of the Dhanbad mining circle which has the highest coal mine leases (131) in the country and over 500 minor mineral mines.
  • Giridih has the third-highest number of operational or working minor mineral leases in the state, while adjoining Dhanbad district has the highest number of working coal mine leases (56).

2. Water table:

  • All the wells and tube wells in the village have dried up in just 10 years.
  • Water table in the entire block has lowered from 8 metre below the ground level in 2013 to about 10 m in 2017. 
  • The last hand pump of the village went dry in 2009.

Additional to know:

Fallow Land scheme:

The farmers are provided with a monetary incentive of Rs 2,400 per hectare to grow anything that they like on fallow land to increase the vegetative growth on the land and prevent soil erosion.


  • Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes a desert, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife.
  • It is caused by a variety of factors, such as through climate change and through the over exploitation of soil through human activity.
  • It is described as the greatest environmental challenge of our time.


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