How does overgrazing cause desertification?

In the film, “Hope in a Changing Climate,” reviewed last month, there is a discussion of overgrazing leading to soil desertification. But how does this happen? When livestock eat plants down to the roots, the plants grow short, unsustainable roots and eventually, the plants will stop growing altogether. This leaves large open areas with no vegetation where the soil is exposed to the elements. The soil becomes very dry and desertification occurs; the land ostensibly becomes a desert. It can change the landscape, destroy the productivity of the land, and it is extremely harmful to the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

However, sustainable agriculture and responsible livestock grazing practices, such as limiting the number of animals grazing in a certain area or rotating grazing lands can help prevent overgrazing in the first place. Additionally, the reintroduction of plant species can help curb its effects and start to reverse desertification in some areas.