Land degradation is the temporary or permanent decline in the productive capacity of the land and diminution of the productive potential, including its major land uses, its farming system and its value as economic resource. (International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences, 2001).
In the article there will be main discussion about the causes and effects of land degradation. Several factors such as deforestation for different purposes such as wood. fuel, urbanization, etc. causes the land degradation, which ultimately effect the land through destroying nutrients, minerals and other compounds present in the soil. In under developing countries, land degradation is a major problem due to unlimited installment of the factories and housing societies, like Pakistan and middle east countries. Several Green projects stated in those countries like “grow plants project 2019” in Pakistan during the reign of former prime minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan. We will also discuss about the solutions of land degradation to save our soil.
CAUSES OF LAND DEGRADATION:
Several factors that effect the soil will discuss and detail here:
- Natural disasters.
- Installation of factories.
- Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides.
- Soil erosion.
It causes land degradation as plants and trees shed their leaves as organic material to maintain the fertility of the soil. Forests hold the soil particles together that help in vegetation. If we cut the trees and plants, there will be lack of organic material to maintain the fertility of the soil. Urbanization and installation of factories also motives for the land degradation. In every country, there should be 25% forests on land, but in several countries, less than 5% land composed of forests, like Pakistan-has only 5% forests of the mainland.
According to Global Forest Watch: In Pakistan, 32kha of land has burned so far in 2022. This total is high compared to the total for previous years going back to 2001. The most fires recorded in a year was 2005, with 390kha. Another report of World Bank Organization: Every year, Pakistan loses almost 27,000 hectares of natural forest area. Based on this, Pakistan is in a state of ‘Green Emergency’. This state of emergency has negatively impacted the rural population that relies on Pakistan’s forests for their livelihoods. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12210-023-01155-3
PESTICIDES AND OTHER FACTORS:
Excessive use of synthetic fertilizations and pesticides that destroy the pests and herbs as well as nutrients of the soil. Destruction of natural immunity of the soil create the instability in the soil and causes land erosion. Soil become dependent on the fertilizers and pesticides for vegetation. If the credits of pesticides include enhanced economic potential in terms of increased production of food and fiber, and amelioration of vector-borne diseases, then their debits have resulted in serious health implications to man and his environment.
There is now overwhelming evidence that some of these chemicals do pose a potential risk to humans and other life forms and unwanted side effects to the environment (Forget, 1993; Igbedioh, 1991; Jeyaratnam, 1981). No segment of the population is completely protected against exposure to pesticides and the potentially serious health effects, though a disproportionate burden, is shouldered by the people of developing countries and by high risk groups in each country (WHO, 1990). The world-wide deaths and chronic diseases due to pesticide poisoning number about 1 million per year (Environews Forum, 1999).
Several other factors such as overgrazing by the herbivores, salination(increase in the concentration of nutrients in the soil above the optimal limit), water-logging and desertification.
Soil erosion due to water and wind flow such as flood and other natural disasters that causes the land degradation. In 2010, flood in Pakistan causes huge loss to the soil. Several other floods came in Pakistan in 2014, 2022, etc. that causes soil erosion. Other countries also affected by the floods and tsunamis and several other natural disasters.
EFFECTS OF LAND DEGRADATION:
Land degradation effect the soil as well as environment and all ecosystems: It decrease the productivity of the soil that result in less vegetation. It also causes desertification which leads to the loss of habitats for several species, ultimately effect the biodiversity in that geographical region. Due to deforestation it causes climate changes such as global warming, acid rain, etc. effect the agricultural and other lands. Floods also washout the nutrients from the soil that causes soil erosion and unfertilized soil.
SOLUTIONS TO PREVENT LAND DEGRADATION AND IMPROVE THE LAND:
Several measurements that can prevent land degradation and can improve the soil conditions: Grow plants and trees and avoid deforestation. Do not use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in excessive concentration, use natural fertilizers. For urbanization and installation of factories, government must apply condition that 25% of the total area of construction must contain plants to preserve the land and environment and habitats of the species. Organic farming should also be applicable in the agriculture to avoid the use of fertilizers and chemicals.
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