a verb that means inhabiting the desert by large numbers?

I want to know if “conquer the desert” is the right way to talk about inhabiting desert by large numbers.Also,if there is any other verb that can be used other than “conquer” like “invade” or “overrun”.

EX:To face the problem of overpopulation,it is necessary to conquer the desert.

P.S:A verb that doesn’t refer to a negative or militaristic meaning.

Answer

To face the problem of overpopulation, it is necessary to colonise
the desert.

Colonise/colonize generally has the same sense of acquisition by power as conquer, but adds the element of human settlement that conquer lacks. In the above example, it would even be an appropriate term in the broader ecological sense of how the human species responds to population pressure.

colonize
(British colonise)

  1. Send settlers to (a place) and establish political control over it.
    1.1 Settle among and establish control over (the indigenous people of an area)
    1.2 Appropriate (a place or domain) for one’s own use.
    1.3 Ecology: (of a plant or animal) establish itself in (an area)

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Abdelrahman Eltaher , Answer Author : Chappo Hasn’t Forgotten Monica

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