2. Natural basins without outlet for water, low permeability of subsurface horizons, internal drainage, low intake rate of surface soils and obstructions to natural flow of rain water etc. It occurs whenever the natural balances in the landscape are changed by human activity through misuse or overuse of soil. With time, the sedimentation process can clog waterways, resulting in water scarcity. Avoiding deforestation completely is an uphill task. Consequently, actions such as reducing irrigation, planting salt-tolerant crops, and improving irrigation efficiency will have high payoffs because the inputs and the labor-demanding aspects associated with reclamation projects are zero. These elements contribute to a significant amount of soil quality depreciation annually. These chemical factors normally bring forth the irreversible loss of soil nutrients and production capacities such as the hardening of iron and aluminum-rich clay soils into hardpans. Avoiding soil degradation is crucial to our well-being. (And 7 Ways to Reuse Them). One of the simplest but most forgotten methods of land reclamation is the planting of vegetation such as trees, crops, and flowers over the affected soils. Marginal lands though sustainable for farming are less fertile and more prone to degradation. What is land degradation? An area of about 21.7 million hectares of soil is rendered unproductive due to salinity and water-logging. Altogether, industrial and mining activities degrade the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties. To fill this knowledge gap, soil degradation simply means the decline in soil quality which comes about due to aspects such as improper land use, agriculture, and pasture, urban or industrial purposes. The following are the impacts of soil degradation: 1. 4.2 Causes of land degradation in the Sahel. Hence, the contributing factors to soil quality decline such as overgrazing, poor tillage methods, and deforestation are also the leading causes of desertification characterized by droughts and arid conditions. Biological factors refer to the human and plant activities that tend to reduce the quality of the soil. Overgrazing directly leads to disappearance of vegetation which is one of the important causes of wind and water erosion in dry lands. It results in a continuous loss of topsoil, ecological degradation, soil collapse, etc. Foremost of all, it denudates the soil’s vegetation cover, compacts soil during construction, and alters the drainage pattern. However, deforestation can be cut down and this can create an impressive way of reshaping and restoring forests and vegetation cover. To restore the lost soil mineral matter and organic content, it would require what is known as land reclamation. Most of the crops in India are affected due to salinity. The outcomes of soil erosion are reduced agricultural productivity, ecological collapse, soil degradation, and the possibility of desertification. This is otherwise known as conservation tillage, which means tillage mechanisms targeted at making very minimal changes to the soil’s natural condition and at the same time improving the soil’s productivity. Still, soil organic matter and plant nutrients can be replenished. The impact of mining on soil depends on the physical, chemical properties of the waste generated. This website includes study notes, research papers, essays, articles and other allied information submitted by visitors like YOU. Yeast: Origin, Reproduction, Life Cycle and Growth Requirements | Industrial Microbiology, How is Bread Made Step by Step? It results into reduced growth of vegetation, reduced diversity of plant species, excessive growth of unwanted plant species, soil erosion, and degradation of land due to cattle movement. Just like the old adage states that “prevention is better than cure,” so does the same concept apply in solving the worldwide problem of soil degradation through salinization. With the reduction of deforestation, soil’s ability to naturally regenerate can be restored. 2. Leaving more land alone, despite the challenges of a growing population, would really help: it takes around 500 years for just 2.5cm of topsoil to be created. Trafficking (by animals as well as by vehicles) and cultivation are the primary causes of this form of soil degradation. The main reasons for unproductiveness or degradation of soils are as follows: Most of the Indian soils are deficient in nutrients and organic matter. All these physical factors produces different types of soil erosion (mainly water and wind erosion) and soil detachment actions, and t… The excessive use and misuse of fertilizers kill … The complex forms of the fertilizer’s chemicals are also responsible for denaturing essential soil minerals, giving rise to nutrient losses from the soil. In some cases farmers use more fertilizer inputs to compensate reduced soil productivity while in other cases, they use excess fertilizers. impacts of land degradation and a good assessment base of the proximate and root causes. Soil degradation has several adverse impacts on the environment. The causes of land degradation can be divided into natural hazards, direct causes, and underlying causes. The degradation or deterioration of soil may be caused by the following factors: 1. © 2021 . Taking land out of production would allow soil carbon to rebuild and become stable. As the land degradation problem intensified, government policy following colonial tradition was to develop physical responses to the problem. Silting of drainage, canals, rivers and reservoirs results in increased floods and droughts. A new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds that the Earth's soil is degrading at an alarming rate. Soil erosion is a serious problem in hills, arid and semi-arid areas. The rates of soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients, as well as the topsoil, are highly contributed by overgrazing. Land degradation in Calabar south also exhibits hydrological conditions, where vegetal cover is removed, the soil surface is exposed to the impact of raindrops which causes a sealing of the soil surface, and less rain then infiltrates the soil. Organic matter is rapidly decomposed and leached or eroded by heavy rains. According to Central Water Commission (1991), nearly 11 per cent of the total capacity of water reservoirs has been silted. Rainfall, surface runoff, floods, wind erosion, tillage, and mass movements result in the loss of fertile top spoil thereby declining soil quality.All these physical factors produces different types of soil erosion (mainly water and wind erosion) and soil detachment actions, and t… Soil degradation examples include a decline in soil fertility, adverse changes in alkalinity, acidity or salinity, extreme flooding, use of toxic soil pollutants, erosion, and deterioration of the soil’s structural condition. 20 Environmental Problems That Our World is Facing Today, deforestation are also the leading causes, Can You Recycle Photos? The biological factors affect mainly lessens the microbial activity of the soil. (And Are They Compostable? There are certain agricultural practices that are environmentally unsustainable and at the same time, they are the single biggest contributor to the worldwide increase in soil quality decline. Again, most of the runoff and sediments from urban areas are extremely polluted with oil, fuel, and other chemicals. For example, roads which increase impermeable surfaces lead to streaming and ground loss. Physical factors, e.g. Extension of cultivation to marginal land: Due to tremendous population increase the use of land is increasing day by day. (And 9 Ways to Reuse Old Photos), Are Aluminum Cans Recyclable? Some of the contributing activities include logging and slash and burn techniques used by individuals who invade forest areas for farming, rendering the soils unproductive and less fertile in the end. Overgrazing destroys surface crop cover and breaks down soil particles, increasing the rates of soil erosion. It involves the decline of the soil’s physical, biological, and chemical state. Once soil erosion occurs, it is more likely to happen again. For this reason, the transformed land is unable to soak up water, making flooding more frequent. According to National Commission on Agriculture (1976), about 6 million ha area is under water-logged condition. Degradation leads to reduction in crop yield in the affected lands and a possible decline in cropping intensity. Causes of Environmental Degradation. Therefore, the misuse or excessive use of fertilizers increases the rate of soil degradation by destroying the soil’s biological activity and builds up of toxicities through incorrect fertilizer use. The latest data revealed that erosion has rendered 200 million hectares or 36% of the total area of the country barren (Table 27.1). The latest data provided by Sehgal and Abrol (1994) show that the total degraded land in India is 187.8 million ha, of which 162.4 million ha is degraded due to soil erosion alone (Table 27.6). Causes of Soil Erosion Soil erosion is the main factor for soil degradation and is due to several mechanisms: water erosion, wind erosion, chemical degradation and physical degradation. This poor condition of pasture lands is due to excessive grazing. Land reclamation encompasses activities centered towards restoring the previous organic matter and soil’s vital minerals. Soil erosion: Among the agents, water is considered as the main cause of soil erosion. Experts suggest rotating pastured land used by the meat and dairy industries so less is being used at once. Conserve Energy Future. Welcome to BiologyDiscussion! In other words, soil degradation takes away the soil’s natural capability of holding water thus contributing to more and more cases of flooding. Other improper cultivation activities such as farming on steep slope and mono-cropping, row-cropping, and surface irrigation wear away the natural composition of the soil and its fertility and prevent soil from regenerating. (Michael Tewelde/AFP/Getty Images) This article is more than 1 … Let us have a detailed look at the causes, effects and prevention of soil erosion. Urbanization has major implications on the soil degradation process. This often causes over-exploitation of the natural resources, and contributes to environmental erosion. The slope of the land. There are several physical factors contributing to soil degradation distinguished by the manners in which they change the natural composition and structure of the soil. It also contributes to the displacement of populations and the multiplication of conflicts. Besides, climate change combined with human activities continues to worsen soil degradation. While soil degradation may occur naturally, it has been highly exuberated by anthropogenic activities. The major causes of land degradation in Ethiopia are the rapid population increase, severe soil loss, deforestation, low vegetative cover and unbalanced crop and livestock production. Land degradation is a negative change in the quality of land, usually induced by a mixture of natural and man-made causes. Most of the crop production practices result in the topsoil loss and the damage of soil’s natural composition that makes agriculture possible. Excess use of pesticide reduces microbial activity and biomass. Proper tillage mechanisms hold as one of the most sustainable ways of avoiding soil quality decline. Destruction of natural vegetation cover is a major factor responsible for erosion of soils by water and wind. As an example, mining destroys crop cover and releases a myriad of toxic chemicals such as mercury into the soil thereby poisoning it and rendering it unproductive for any other purpose. Physical factors, e.g. The land is commonly altered from its natural landscape when it rids its physical composition from soil degradation. Also Read: What is Soil? 89 billion to 232 billion which represent a loss of 11 to 26 per cent yield (Table 27.6). In India pasture land area is decreasing day by day due to expansion of agricultural land. The erodible material is almost devoid of organic matter and lacks in mineral plant nutrients. Intensive cultivation leads to removal of large quantities of nutrients from the soil which results to in loss of soil fertility. Chemical factors e.g. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. inhibit nitrification. Secondly, it covers the soil in an impermeable layer of concrete that amplifies the amount of surface runoff which results in more erosion of the topsoil. Disposal of oil shales, heavy metal contamination of soil and spillage of crude oils adversely affect soil micro flora which ultimately affect soil productivity and cause soil degradation. Soil degradation is a complex phenomenon derived by interaction between natural and socio economic factors. Changes in the structure of the soil, such as soil compaction through the intensive use of farm machinery, also tends to inhibit plant growth and costs several billions of dollars per year in terms of lost yield; 2. Erosion ditches and grass lines, installed with enforced communal labor, covered almost all the hillsides by the early 1990’s. According to an estimate, about 0.8 million ha soil is degraded due to mining activity. Governments, international organizations, and other environmental stakeholders need to ensure there are appropriate measures for making zero net deforestation a reality so as to inhibit soil degradation. 3. In highly productive areas, canal irrigation is responsible for a rapid rise in water table. This is a question and answer forum for students, teachers and general visitors for exchanging articles, answers and notes. Share Your Word File Waste lands are those which for one or the other reason have poor life sustaining property. 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