Environmental impact of droughts

Plants, animals, climate, soils, rocks, and many others are all affected by drought conditions. Some biotic and abiotic factors recover when the droughts are over. Others never recover again. Here are a few examples:

Soil moisture is key for the breakdown of organic matter. Droughts lower the quality of soils, because there is little organic activity, more wind erosion, and soil insects or organisms perish.

Water bodies (lakes, creeks, ponds, lagoon, and lakes) dry out, and water animals die. That is called habitat destruction. When aquatic animals (and other wildlife) die, entire food chains and ecosystems are also affected.

Desertification is when fertile lands (vegetation lands) become bare and infertile, often as a result of overgrazing, deforestation, and other economic activity. Droughts make this process even worse and eliminate any chances of the land recovering.

The health and quality of Freshwater Biomes such as lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, wetlands are affected, and living organisms in there are also endangered.

Animals (wildlife) migrate long distances in search of water. They end up in new habitats, making them vulnerable and endangered, whiles others face new threats.

The Dust Bowl

Have you heard of the Dust Bowl? Between 1933-1940, severe droughts in the great plains of the USA resulted in massive dust storms that left thick dust in the clouds for days. This dust cloud was nicknamed ‘black blizzards’. The extremely dry conditions exposed the top layers of the land to wind action. The real cause of the dust bowl is known to be the severe drought and the failure to apply crop farming methods that were resistant to wind erosion.