Like much of the Mediterranean around 80% of Spain is facing desertification inside the 21st century. Investigations led by the Spanish Environmental Ministry have indicated that the regions most at risk are Murcia, Almeria and their respective mountain ranges, all situated in the south-east of the country.
Desertification is the degradation of lands that are arid, semi-arid, or sub-humid. It’s driven to a large extent by human activities for example, through clearing vegetation or using excess water, yet global climate change will also have consequences, delivering prolonged droughts and more regular fires and floods. The combination of human and climatic causes creates a cycle that drives desertification, yet through careful management, the effects can be mitigated.
South-East Spain is in many places a dry desertlike area already, however, the combination of droughts and floods continues to alter the landscape and ecosystem.
Where vegetation is cleared and soil is ill-treated the risk of desertification grows. These drivers are often related to industries, such as agriculture or mining, but more generic practices such as urbanisation can also be catalysts.
The unique landscape in South-Eastern Spain attracts a diverse crowd, each for their own purposes but all drawn by the same, growing desert.
If you enjoyed this story please consider subscribing for free to have a new story sent directly to you each week.
Also, if you know of someone else who might be interested, why not share it with them?