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Most agricultural practices involving the use of fertilizers and pesticides often entail misuse or excessive application, thereby contributing to the killing of soil’s beneficial bacteria and other micro-organisms that help in soil formation. The Problem Today . (And Ways to Dispose of Them), Are Yogurt Cups Recyclable? (And Is It Bad For Environment), Are Solar Panels Recyclable? 5. The annual loss of land is expected to go up to 10 million hectares by 2000 A.D.(Yadava 1996). The rates of soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients, as well as the topsoil, are highly contributed by overgrazing. 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. Proper tillage mechanisms hold as one of the most sustainable ways of avoiding soil quality decline. With time, the sedimentation process can clog waterways, resulting in water scarcity. For example, roads which increase impermeable surfaces lead to streaming and ground loss. Salinity directly affects the productivity by making the soil unsuitable for crop growth. The main reasons for unproductiveness or degradation of soils are as follows: Most of the Indian soils are deficient in nutrients and organic matter. Overgrazing, cutting of timber trees, collection of fuel wood, shifting cultivation and encroachment of forest areas are some of the important factors responsible for the loss of vegetation cover on the soil which ultimately causes soil erosion. However, deforestation can be cut down and this can create an impressive way of reshaping and restoring forests and vegetation cover. Extension of cultivation to marginal land: Due to tremendous population increase the use of land is increasing day by day. Increased runoff from urban areas also causes a huge disturbance to adjacent watersheds by changing the rate and volume of water that flows through them and impoverishing them with chemically polluted sediment deposits. It affects the land’s topsoil, the vegetation that grows on it, and the nearby water sources. Out of 100 per cent potentially active lands only 44 per cent are available for cultivation and 56 per cent of land are non-available for cultivation. The complex forms of the fertilizer’s chemicals are also responsible for denaturing essential soil minerals, giving rise to nutrient losses from the soil. Of the world’s total land area of 13.5 billion hectares, only 3.03 billion hectares (22 per cent) is actually cultivable and about 2 billion hectares is degraded. Causes of Soil Erosion As stated earlier, about 40% of the world’s agricultural land is lost on the account of soil quality depreciation caused by agrochemicals and soil erosion. The wasteland can be made useful by increasing productivity of land by using some useful methods as afforestation or by using bio-fertilizers. In India pasture land area is decreasing day by day due to expansion of agricultural land. 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. Soil degradation has been defined as a process that leads to decline in the fertility or future productive capacity of soil as a result of human activity (United Nations Environment Programme, 1993). Industrial activities, on the other hand, release toxic effluents and material wastes into the atmosphere, land, rivers, and groundwater that eventually pollute the soil and as such, it impacts on soil quality. Silting of drainage, canals, rivers and reservoirs results in increased floods and droughts. impacts of land degradation and a good assessment base of the proximate and root causes. Soil degradation is a complex phenomenon derived by interaction between natural and socio economic factors. 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. 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. These factors reduce the yield. Organic matter is rapidly decomposed and leached or eroded by heavy rains. The soil profile is changed; the top soil is turned deep inside the dumps. With the objective of understanding the distinct nature of soil quality decline, here are the various causes, effects, and solutions of soil degradation. Although the yield can be maintained by using fertilizers that provide deficient minerals yet their use often results in deficiencies of other nutrients. depletion of nutrients or the toxicity due to acidity or alkalinity (salinization) or water logging. The impact of mining on soil depends on the physical, chemical properties of the waste generated. These factors reduce the yield. Destruction of natural vegetation cover is a major factor responsible for erosion of soils by water and wind. Currently, 40% of soil in Africa is degraded. Productivity loss of some crops is given in Table 27.5. The saline degradation is due to natural causes and poor irrigation practices which disturb the water cycle in areas. With the reduction of deforestation, soil’s ability to naturally regenerate can be restored. Our mission is to provide an online platform to help students to share notes in Biology. Again, most of the runoff and sediments from urban areas are extremely polluted with oil, fuel, and other chemicals. (And Can You Sell Them? According to National Commission on Agriculture (1976), about 6 million ha area is under water-logged condition. Foremost of all, it denudates the soil’s vegetation cover, compacts soil during construction, and alters the drainage pattern. It causes the extinction of species and accentuates climate change. This is a question and answer forum for students, teachers and general visitors for exchanging articles, answers and notes. 10 Soil compaction. Intensive cultivation leads to removal of large quantities of nutrients from the soil which results to in loss of soil fertility. Before sharing your knowledge on this site, please read the following pages: 1. The degradation of our soils, due to human activities, today, can harm our well-being. All Rights Reserved . Human activities such as poor farming practices may also deplete soil nutrients thus diminishing soil fertility. The causes of land degradation can be divided into natural hazards, direct causes, and underlying causes. In many parts of the world, mining activities or rather improper mining activities … Avoiding deforestation completely is an uphill task. Causes of Land Degradation: In addition to pollution, soil and land face several other problems. Still, soil organic matter and plant nutrients can be replenished. A major part of soil depletion is due to the lands over-use and the products that we pour on it. Deforestation: Forests play an important role in maintaining fertility of soil by shedding their leaves … Waste lands are those which for one or the other reason have poor life sustaining property. 12 billion to 27 billion annually. The erodible material is almost devoid of organic matter and lacks in mineral plant nutrients. Soil erosion: Among the agents, water is considered as the main cause of soil erosion. ), Can You Recycle Trophies? What are the factors which induce heart failure? Soil degradation has several adverse impacts on the environment. Most of the soil eroded from the land together with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides utilized in agricultural fields are discharged into waterways and streams. Privacy Policy3. TOS4. Conserve Energy Future. Preventing salinization in the first place is thus an environmentally friendly means of offering a solution to soil degradation. These elements contribute to a significant amount of soil quality depreciation annually. The reduction of soil nutrients because of alkalinity or acidity or waterlogging are all categorized under the chemical components of soil degradation. This poor condition of pasture lands is due to excessive grazing. Most of the crop production practices result in the topsoil loss and the damage of soil’s natural composition that makes agriculture possible. Degradation leads to reduction in crop yield in the affected lands and a possible decline in cropping intensity. Land reclamation encompasses activities centered towards restoring the previous organic matter and soil’s vital minerals. As populations grow, individuals can be sensitized and educated regarding sustainable forest management and reforestation efforts. Table 27.6 presents the area under different types of soil degradation in different years: The factors which affect soil micro flora and fauna also reduce the biological or microbial activity of soil adversely. Trafficking (by animals as well as by vehicles) and cultivation are the primary causes of this form of soil degradation. Soil erosion is a continuous process that occurs either slowly or at an alarming rate. 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. The nodulation and growth of some leguminous crops and nitrogen fixation are inhibited by different pesticides. (Michael Tewelde/AFP/Getty Images) This article is more than 1 … Due to shortage of land, increase of population and economic pressure, the farmers have adopted intensive cropping patterns of commercial crops in place of more balanced cereal-legume rotations. The data published by National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (Sehgal and Abrol, 1994) show that about 3.7 million ha land suffers from nutrient loss or depletion of organic matter. Welcome to BiologyDiscussion! Soil Degradation are broken down to ; One (Physical) Two (Chemical) Three (Biological) subgroups ; 8 Soil degradation 9 what is Soil compaction? These include erosion, deforestation and overgrazing, flooding and water logging, salination, desertification and ill- planned urbanization. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity. In the broadest sense, it comprises alterations in the soil’s chemical property that determine nutrient availability. 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. An area of about 21.7 million hectares of soil is rendered unproductive due to salinity and water-logging. To restore the lost soil mineral matter and organic content, it would require what is known as land reclamation. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe. 20 Environmental Problems That Our World is Facing Today, deforestation are also the leading causes, Can You Recycle Photos? In India alone, about 188 million hectares or almost 57% of total land area is degraded (Sehgel and Abrol, 1994). Natural hazards are the conditions of the physical environment which lead to the existence of a high degradation hazard, for example steep slopes as a hazard for water erosion. Either way, soil erosion can lead to severe environmental degradation since large areas of land can become useless due to the erosion of soil. Urbanization has major implications on the soil degradation process. Biological factors refer to the human and plant activities that tend to reduce the quality of the soil. What is the significance of transpiration? All these physical factors produce different types of soil erosion (mainly water and wind erosion) and soil detachment actions, and their resultant physical forces eventually change the composition and structure of the soil by wearing away the soil’s top layer as well as organic matter. The excessive use and the misuse of pesticides and chemical fertilizers kill organisms that assist in binding the soil together. It is clear that the impact of land degradation is a drain on economic growth in Plants act as protective covers as they are helpful at making the soil stronger by stabilizing the land surface. Chemical factors e.g. Because soil degradation contributes to land degradation, it also means that it creates a significant loss of arable land. The excessive use and misuse of fertilizers kill … 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. (And 7 Ways to Reuse Them). © 2021 . Hence, there is a necessity for individuals all over the world to respect forest cover and reduce some of the human-driven actions that encourage logging. Excess use of pesticide reduces microbial activity and biomass. Share Your PDF File The main cause of water erosion is removal of vegetation, over exploitation of vegetation, over grazing and improper agricultural practices. Soil is chiefly polluted by industrial and mining activities. Soil erosion can either be caused by natural forces like wind or water or can be caused by human behavior like deforestation or the building of dams. Related to our rapidly depleting environment or at an alarming rate and 7 to! The affected lands and a possible decline in cropping intensity soil immediately below the plough layer in a continuous that! 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