Australia produces 90 percent of the world’s merino wool exports. But this year, a devastating drought has left sheep farmers struggling to keep their flocks alive. The losses come at a time when global demand for natural fibers is surging.
All of the Australian state of New South Wales' 800,000 square kilometers of land area is now officially in drought. Farmers have been given permission to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture.
Drought killed around a million trees in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia last summer, putting pressure on Christmas tree farmers. But new techniques could help detect crop death early.
The Australian government has announced an aid package of millions for farmers struggling amid a prolonged dry spell. Meteorologists say the already devastating drought could worsen further in the coming months.
Amidst the worst drought in living memory, the world's driest continent is also heating up due to climate change. Critics say too little is being done to prevent increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall.
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