During last two decades the area under food crops decreased and that under non-food crops increased. It is well known that mono cropping (growing the same crop on the same land year after year) often leads to increasing attack of pests and diseases. The following are the impacts of soil degradation: 1. 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. ), Are Mirrors Recyclable? Before sharing your knowledge on this site, please read the following pages: 1. In the broadest sense, it comprises alterations in the soil’s chemical property that determine nutrient availability. An area of about 21.7 million hectares of soil is rendered unproductive due to salinity and water-logging. Causes of Land Degradation: In addition to pollution, soil and land face several other problems. Examples include leaving the previous year’s crop residue on the surface to shield the soil from erosion and avoiding poor tillage methods such as deep plowing. 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. Faulty irrigation projects have resulted not only in the soil infertility, they have also decreased water table of the country’s largest lakes by 80 percent and more, exposing shores to the effects of rapid drying out and land degradation [14]. The degradation or deterioration of soil may be caused by the following factors: 1. Deforestation: Forests play an important role in maintaining fertility of soil by shedding their leaves … Deforestation causes soil degradation on the account of exposing soil minerals by removing trees and crop cover, which support the availability of humus and litter layers on the surface of the soil. Compost Pile vs Bin – Which One is Right For You? 2. 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). The degradation of our soils, due to human activities, today, can harm our well-being. Waterlogging and soil salinization is the important causes of soil degradation in Northwest India, particularly the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. Once soil erosion occurs, it is more likely to happen again. 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. Resources Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process that affects all landforms. Deterioration of the water quality: the increase in the turbidity of water and the contribution of nitrogen and of phosphorus can result in eutrophication. As a result, soil quality and agricultural productivity are greatly affected. Because soil degradation contributes to land degradation, it also means that it creates a significant loss of arable land. 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. Summary 10. In India pasture land area is decreasing day by day due to expansion of agricultural land. Why mitochondria is called as the power house of the cell? According to Central Water Commission (1991), nearly 11 per cent of the total capacity of water reservoirs has been silted. 3. 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. The rate of siltation in many water reservoirs are significantly high. Waste lands are those which for one or the other reason have poor life sustaining property. 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. The farmers maintain productivity of soil by applying chemical fertilizers but make less use of organic manures. The fatal nematodes threaten potato cultivation in the Nilgiris and, if not controlled they may pose threat to potato cultivation in that area. Vegetation cover primarily promotes the binding of the soil together and soil formation, hence when it is removed it considerably affects the capabilities of the soil such as aeration, water holding capacity, and biological activity. Either way, soil erosion can lead to severe environmental degradation since large areas of land can become useless due to the erosion of soil. The factors below can trigger degradation or deterioration of the soil; For example, physical causes involve the depletion of fertile topsoil due to water or wind erosion. 89 billion to 232 billion which represent a loss of 11 to 26 per cent yield (Table 27.6). Disclaimer Copyright, Share Your Knowledge are conditions cause water logging. (And Should We Stop Camping? 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. The nodulation and growth of some leguminous crops and nitrogen fixation are inhibited by different pesticides. The estimated annual loss of different crops due to soil degradation rangs from Rs. Steeper areas … Soil erosion is the major cause of soil degradation. In extreme cases, soil becomes unfit for cultivation. 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. The adverse effect of alkalinity on availability of nutrients is due to deflocculating effect of sodium ions. Indirectly it lowers productivity through its adverse effects on the availability of nutrients. During last decade the nutrients deficiency has been considered as the main cause of poor productivity and crop failure. 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. Among the major causes of degradation, water erosion is considered to be the most severe one which covers almost 87% of the affected area. The causes of land degradation can be divided into natural hazards, direct causes, and underlying causes. Degraded soils which result in poor or no production are also called problem soils. Disturbances in the hydrologic cycle due to inefficient use of surface irrigation water, poor land development, seepage and poor drainage have resulted in higher water tables. Soil Nutrient Mining iii. Wind Erosion 5. Answer Now and help others. The annual loss of land is expected to go up to 10 million hectares by 2000 A.D.(Yadava 1996). Physical factors, e.g. 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. Natural Causes Despite the fact that environmental degradation is under normal circumstances associated with anthropogenic activities, natural causes are also contributors. Water Erosion 2. Thus, soil erosion is a continuous process and may occur either at a relatively unnoticed rate or an alarming rate contributing to copious loss of the topsoil. 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 erodible material is almost devoid of organic matter and lacks in mineral plant nutrients. Main agents of soil erosion are (1) Water, (2) Wind, (3) Waves and (4) Glaciers Removal of the top layer of soil by various means, which include both natural events and human activities, is called as soil erosion. The costs of preventing salinization are incredibly cheaper than the reclamation projects in salinized areas. Human activities are the primary cause of soil pollution and land degradation. (And Simple Ways to Reuse Old Mirrors), Can You Compost Coffee Grounds? In some cases farmers use more fertilizer inputs to compensate reduced soil productivity while in other cases, they use excess fertilizers. Soil erosion is a consequence of unsustainable land use and other disturbances, such as fire, mining, or intensive agricultural uses. Soil degradation is a global phenomenon. 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. Rainfall, surface runoff, floods, wind erosion, tillage, and mass movements result in the loss of fertile top spoil thereby declining soil quality. 1. Additional information about the process of compaction is available on the VRO website. In the same context, soil degradation may also bring about loss of biodiversity. Avoiding soil degradation is crucial to our well-being. Explain its significance. According to National Commission on Agriculture (1976), about 6 million ha area is under water-logged condition. Soil degradation, defined as lowering and losing of soil functions, is becoming more and more serious worldwide in recent decades, and poses a threat to agricultural production and terrestrial ecosystem. Chemical considerations such as mineral degradation or the damage induced by acidity or alkalinity (salinization) or waterlogging. Conservation Measures 9. Soil is chiefly polluted by industrial and mining activities. 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. 12 billion to 27 billion annually. This causes a cycle as floods can degrade soil, and soil degradation can cause floods. Plants act as protective covers as they are helpful at making the soil stronger by stabilizing the land surface. Still, soil organic matter and plant nutrients can be replenished. 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. Destruction of natural vegetation cover is a major factor responsible for erosion of soils by water and wind. 4. Many people do conceive the idea of soil degradation but a good number lacks the knowledge of its precise definition. 5. Content Guidelines 2. One of the topics studied in GCSE Geography is soil erosion and degradation. It refers to the advancement of the desert into the adjoining regions, thereby affecting the fertility of nearby lands. #3 Soil erosion gets worse The biological factors affect mainly lessens the microbial activity of the soil. These elements contribute to a significant amount of soil quality depreciation annually. 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