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22 Jul, 2007 06:03

Fields turn to desert in Russia's Southern Republic of Dagestan

The northern part of the Republic of Dagestan in Southern Russia is on the edge of an ecological disaster. Fields and pastures are turning into deserts. Heavy winds and sand dunes are threatening the Republic's cattle-breeding region.

Scientists say local farming practices are to blame and warn that the process is irreversible.

Thirty farms have had their licenses to rent land revoked.

Scientists say in about five years time a big part of Dagestan could end up as desert.