Causes and Impacts of Land Degradation and Desertification: Case Study from Kazakhstan

  • Aigul Тokbergenova
  • Gulnara Nyussupova
  • Mehmet Arslan
  • Shnar Kairova Lyazat Kiyassova


The problem of desertification is a serious threat that is causing a variety of negative social and economic effects. It is always accompanied by soil degradation as the result of human overuse of the land. During the past few decades this process has accelerated because of population growth, and the forecast is that this growth will continue to increase, which necessitates increased food production. Estimations depict that nearly 50,000–70,000 km2 of fertile land becomes unusable annually. The main reason for this disastrous phenomenon is desertification. Natural factors are contributing toward the desertification processes in Kazakhstan as well, as it is a landlocked country. The country experiences a continental and arid climate together with the scarcity and uneven distribution of water resources. All these factors are responsible for the spread of sandy habitats and saline soils. The land degradation processes are enhanced by the seasonal changes in the characteristics of soils as well as impacts from drought. Nearly 75% of the countries are exposed to a high risk of ecological destabilization, and Kazakhstan is no exception. Natural habitats in the country show a weak environmental resistance to anthropogenic influences. The degradation is most severe in the pastures adjacent to the rural settlements, milking machines, wells, and distant pasturing territories. Several workers have been studying this phenomenon to identify the agricultural lands most vulnerable to desertification. These workers have proposed measures for the prevention of desertification. Some of the key measures are forest plantation and a sustainable use of pasture ecosystems through conservation programs for restoring the functional integrity of steppe ecosystems.


Ecosystems Pastures Drought Land degradation Desertification 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aigul Тokbergenova
    • 1
  • Gulnara Nyussupova
    • 1
  • Mehmet Arslan
    • 1
  • Shnar Kairova Lyazat Kiyassova
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Land Management and CadastreAl-Farabi Kazakh National UniversityAlmatyKazakhstan

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