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 Environmental problems

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kosovohp
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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: Environmental problems   Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:28 pm

Botswana is currently facing two major environmental problems: drought and desertification. The desertification problems predominantly stem from the severe times of drought in the country. Due to the drought 75% of the country’s human and animal populations are dependent on groundwater.[7] Groundwater use has eased the effects of drought, but has left a toll on the land. Groundwater is retrieved through drilling deep boreholes, which leads to the erosion of the land.[7] Surface water is very scarce in Botswana and less than 5% of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfall.[7] Due to this 95% of the country raises cattle and livestock as a means for an income.[7] Therefore, it is not a surprise to see that 71% of the country’s land is used for communal grazing,[7] which has been a major cause for the desertification of the country.

Since raising livestock has proven to be profitable for the people of Botswana, the land is continuing to be exploited. The animal populations have continued to dramatically increase. From 1966 to 1991 the livestock population has increased from 1.7 million to 5.5 million,[7] p 64. Similarly, the human population has increased from 574,000 in 1971 to 1.5 million in 1995, nearly a 200% increase.[7] “Over 50% of all households in Botswana own cattle, which is presently the largest single source of rural income” .[7] “Rangeland degradation or desertification is regarded as the reduction in land productivity as a result of overstocking and overgrazing or as a result of veld product gathering for commercial use. Degradation is exacerbated by the effects of drought and climate change” .[7] It has been reported that the Okavango Delta is drying up due to the increased grazing of livestock.[8] The Okavango Delta is one of the major semi-forested wetlands in Botswana, the largest inland delta in the world and is a crucial ecosystem to the survival of many animals

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