WWF works with farmers, major companies and their supply chains to promote the use and development of sustainable agriculture that preserves and restores critical habitats, helps protect watersheds and improves the health of soil and water. — Protracted drought and loss of fertile land may have been contributing factors in the wars in Sudan and Syria. Soil degradation is the loss of land’s production capacity in terms of loss of soil fertility, soil biodiversity, and degradation. This problem caused a conversion of wheat into barley, which is more salt-tolerant, until many lands (and the city states they supported) were abandoned altogether. Many of the practices used in growing those crops can lead to the loss of topsoil and destruction of soil characteristics that make agriculture possible. From: Soil Mapping and Process Modeling for Sustainable Land Use Management, 2017, J. Maximillian, ... A.D. Matthias, in Environmental and Pollution Science (Third Edition), 2019. Soil erosion affects SOC dynamics by slaking and breakdown of aggregates, preferential removal of C in surface runoff or wind, redistribution of C over the landscape, and mineralization of displaced/redistributed C. The redistributed SOC is generally light or labile fraction composed of particulate organic carbon (POC) and is easily mineralized.

Crops like napier grass are good for soil retention, regeneration and fodder use.

Soil particles may be displaced by the action of water or wind (erosion and sedimentation), which may cause damage to crops, infrastructure, buildings, and the environment in general. In the southern Great Plains, the dominant dryland cropping system is wheat-sorghum-fallow illustrated in Fig. From Musick, J.T., Jones, O.R., Stewart, B.A., Dusek, D.A., 1994. Landscape and soil degradation involve a reduction in ecosystem functions and services. Effects include land degradation, soil erosion and sterility, and a loss of biodiversity, with huge economic costs for nations where deserts are growing. Working on providing guidelines for local herders to avoid overgrazing. For example, in the Mediterranean, WWF developed a program to create a network of protected forests to integrate conservation and development so that local people would benefit from their natural heritage. It was also reported that all of the World’s topsoil could become unproductive within 60 years if current rates of loss continue. 3.8. It is in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South and Central America that the problem is growing most rapidly. Figure 1. The relationship between GY of wheat and ET based on many years of dryland and irrigated studies at Bushland, TX, shows there is a threshold of 207 mm ET required before any grain is produced, but 12.2 kg of grain is produced for every additional mm of ET. University of Sydney provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU. de Jong, in Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment, 2005. That’s why it’s far better to conserve existing healthy forests and prevent them from being degraded or destroyed in the first place. Mollisols are the most productive among soils, and are found largely in the Midwest of the United States and Russia. Hence, soil degradation by erosion, contamination, salinization, and sealing all threaten soil biodiversity by compromising or destroying the habitat of the soil biota. There are methods to improve soil water holding capacity as well as restoration and maintenance of wetlands. Most of the world's soils exhibit depletion in one or more elements essential for plant growth – including zinc, boron, iron, molybdenum, and manganese – thereby reducing crop yields. Some nations are already finding success. The loss of fertile soil makes land less productive for agriculture, creates new deserts, pollutes waterways and can alter how water flows through the landscape, potentially making flooding more common. Off-site effects of erosion may consist of siltation of reservoirs and river beds and/or flooding, or dune formation and ‘overblowing’ in the case of wind erosion. What can we do as citizens, especially those of us who live in cities and have little direct interaction with the land? In addition, 239 Mha is likely affected by chemical degradation and 83 Mha by physical degradation.

Black soil is an indicator of a healthy soil, while white and yellow colors represent an eroded soil (Wezel and Haigis, 2000; Chizana et al., 2007; Davies et al., 2010; Adimassu et al., 2013; Teshome et al., 2016). For example, a 65% decrease in mushroom species over a 20-year period has been reported in the Netherlands, and the Swiss Federal Environment Office has published the first-ever “Red-List” of mushrooms, detailing 937 known species that face possible extinction in Switzerland [88]. Summer temperature and primary production profiles of clear and turbid lakes can be quite different. The type of soil degradation refers to the nature of the degradation process. View our inclusive approach to conservation. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. R. Lal, in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2013.

2014). The two most significant direct causes of land degradation are the conversion of native vegetation into crop and grazing lands, and unsustainable land-management practices. Paraguay reduced the rate of deforestation in their country by 85% in the years just following enactment of its 2004 Zero Deforestation Law. It would be wrong to infer that land degradation is purely a problem for developing countries. A major physical problem affecting soils is accelerated erosion, which occurs with the stripping of topsoil by wind and water, particularly once the vegetation cover is lost (Figure 1). Let us check what environmental degradation is, its causes and effects. At its worst, land degradation can result in the desertification or abandonment of land (or both). Source: Adapted from Stewart, B.A., Robinson, C.A., 1997. Land degradation also has serious knock-on effects for humans, such as malnutrition, disease, forced migration, cultural damage, and even war. 86, 980–986, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Underlying systemic causes need to be addressed, including deregulated international trading systems, lack of protection for local communities powerless to resist global market forces, ideologies of unfettered growth and perverse incentives for more consumption. Desertification can be characterized by the droughts and arid conditions the landscape endures as a result of human exploitation of fragile ecosystems. Farming is the world’s largest industry, employing a billion people who produce more than $1 trillion of food annually. Accelerated erosion has major implications for food production and may place people at direct physical risk from landslides. Many studies have investigated the implementation of restoration of degraded lands in diverse environments (Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2017; Asefa et al., 2003; Gisladottir and Stocking, 2005; Hu et al., 2016; Khaledian et al., 2016; Wolfgramm et al., 2016; Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2016; Panagos et al., 2016). Light penetration also is important for the distribution of macrophytes in lakes (Duarte and Kalff, 1987, 1990).

Therefore, most farmers have historically considered fallow an essential part of a successful cropping system even though it was inefficient from a water-use standpoint and led to a decline of soil health.

1995; Brown and Kane 1994), while others argue that land degradation is overestimated and, in any event, … Precipitation during the crop growing period, fallow period, and total for the cropping system. Washington, DC 20037. In this case, farmers did not invest too much in land degradation measures, despite the fact that they perceived degradation as a problem, due the lack of funds. Overall, during the 3-year period of the wheat-sorghum-fallow system, 615 mm, 45% of the total precipitation, were used as ET which is more efficient than for the wheat-fallow system.

Thus, decisions about sustainable landscape management must consider the restoration of essential ecosystem services (Forouzangohar et al., 2014). Festival of Social Science 2020 The most obvious action is to eat less meat and, more generally, to inform ourselves about the sources and impacts of the food we buy – including its packaging, fuel and transport.

However, in richer nations the rate of degradation has slowed, and people in these regions are generally less vulnerable to its effects. Accelerated soil erosion, soil degradation by other degradative processes (e.g., salinization, nutrient depletion, elemental imbalance, acidification), and desertification are severe global issues. In India, farmers’ perceived soil and land degradation as occurring when rills developed on the soil surface, lowlands became waterlogged, and top soil was lost (Kumar Shit et al., 2015). However, the underlying driver of all these changes is rising per-capita demand from growing populations for protein, fibre and bioenergy. Loss of Arable Land. In the semiarid tropics, the soils are not highly weathered, but crop production is limited by low and irregular precipitation. These soils were made quite productive through fertilization and liming, although there may be no readily available sources of either in nearby areas. The major perceived effects of land degradation include decrease in farmland available for cultivation, reduction in farm yield (output), reduction in farmer’s income and loss of nutrients/organic matter. In the Philippines, much of the terrain is steep and prone to monsoonal downpours, and high rates of erosion can, therefore, occur even without human involvement. As a result of the various processes of soil degradation, approximately 0.5% of the world's cropland is lost every year. 2.1). Other factors include the effects of climate change and loss of land to urbanisation, infrastructure and mining. Figure 3.7.

And yet these achievements remain far short of the scope of the problem. The land area affected by wind erosion is estimated at 549 Mha, of which 296 Mha is severely affected. The resources get depleted and the quality of … Given the amount of deforestation around the world, zero net deforestation may seem unattainable. Soil Pollution. However, large-scale land clearing over the past century, to cater for an increasing rural population; the development of plantations; and the widespread exploitation by timber companies have significantly accelerated the process of soil loss. Decreased light availability for phytoplankton photosynthesis, leading to water quality improvement, or at least compensating for photosynthesis resulting from increased phosphorus loads (Lind and Davalos-Lind, 1999). In Africa, some studies have pointed out that soil and land degradation are mainly observed using these indicators: decreasing or disappearing of some plant species, deforestation, water erosion, gully formation, and loss of soil fertility. The surface temperature of a turbid lake is higher than that of a clear lake because the particles causing turbidity can adsorb the incoming solar radiation in the uppermost layers. biological and chemical contamination of soils. On the positive side, success stories in land management are well documented: agroforestry, conservation agriculture, soil fertility management, regeneration and water conservation. The flow of ecosystem services and their contribution to the well-being of humans and nature must be included in any economic assessment (Costanza et al., 1997, 2014; Bateman et al., 2011; Zhang et al., 2013). The immediate profit is linked to the amount of money invested by the farmers for land restoration.

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