I had this question in my previous exam, it says:

Deterioration of vegetation resulted by overgrazing results in......

1.desert encroachment.

2.change in climate.

I had to choose 1 or 2 and I chose 2, why? Because my textbook says:

Overgrazing results in deterioration of natural flora, which is always accompanied by deterioration of soil and local climate.

But my answer was wrong, and I was confused which one to choose because both of them seem as correct answers. What I understand from my text book is that deterioration of vegetation has a direct effect i.e. change in climate and an indirect effect i.e. desert encroachment. So, why was my answer wrong?


I think the reason you were marked wrong is because your text book is using the term "climate" loosely. The deterioration of vegetation will result in desert encroachment ... which in turn can cause a change in local climate. After all, if you create more desert, you have changed the local climate, right? However, it takes many years to define a climate period, whereas desert encroachment can happen year to year. So, eventually the local climate can change... but not if the desert encroachment reverses for some reason. It's a very fine line, but answer #1 will most certainly occur while #2 may occur afterward if #1 is sustained.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ OTOH, if the area being grazed was in a wet climate, would there be desertification? Rather than e.g. replacing perennial grasses with annual weeds. Seems like a badly posed question. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    May 6 '17 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ Vegetation does affect local climate because temperature changes... though I agree it is a badly posed question. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    May 6 '17 at 5:10

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