Chapters :
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SOIL DEGRADATION & CONSERVATION  – 01

SIGNIFICANT IDEAS

  • Fertile soils require significant time to develop through the process of succession.
  • Human activities may reduce soil fertility and increase Soil Erosion.
  • Soil conservation strategies exist and may be used to preserve Soil Fertility And Reduce Soil Erosion.
KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING 

Soil ecosystems change through succession. Fertile soil contains a community of organisms that work to maintain functioning nutrient cycles and that are resistant to soil erosion.
Human activities that can reduce soil fertility include Deforestation, Intensive Grazing, Urbanization And Certain Agricultural Practices (such as irrigation and monoculture). This shows that the soil degradation’s damage is world wide and occurs over 15% of the world’s total area. Soil degradation is the decline in quantity and quality of soil. It is also erosion by wind and water, 1.Biological Degradation (Loss Of Humus And Plant Or Animal Life), 2.Physical Degradation (loss of structure, changes in permeability), 3.Chemical Degradation (acidification, declining fertility, changes in pH, salinity) Human activities such as overgrazing, deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and irrigation cause processes of degradation. These include Soil Erosion, Toxification And SalinizationDesertification (enlargement of deserts through human activities) can be associated with this degradation.

MANY FORMS AND CAUSES OF DEGRADATIONS

The Commercial, industrialized food production systems generally tend to reduce soil fertility more than Small-Scale Subsistence farming methods. A significant amount of chemical and energy input is required in commercial and industrialized food production systems. This is achieved through the application of synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms, and a number of other industrial products. This method usually alters the Natural Environment, Deteriorates Soil Quality, And Eliminates Biodiversity. The goal of commercial and industrialized food production systems is to maximize the potential yield of crops.  In maintaining a Conventional System, Biodiversity, Soil Fertility, And Ecosystems Health are compromised. Sustainable Agriculture is a more holistic approach to farming than conventional in that it relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects  Sustainable agriculture is a natural way to produce food and has a number of social, economic, and environmental benefits.
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