002- Human Impact
Desertification is the loss of fertile land due mainly to human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, and inappropriate agriculture. These activities lead to the break up and erosion of the fertile topsoil and the expansion of deserts. Campaigns to stop or reverse desertification have not been successful everywhere in Jordan.
Archaeological evidence of deforestation is found in a prehistoric human settlement in Amman (see Ain Ghazal) and in Finan (see Finan Copper Mines). In the past century, much of Jordan’s forests in the Northern Highlands were decimated by the Ottomans to build and fuel the Hejaz Railway. Livestock tracks crisscross most of Jordan’s barren hills, providing visual evidence of overgrazing. Inappropriate agriculture is widely practiced in critical marginal land.