SOIL DEGRADATION & CONSERVATION - 07
Reduced soil fertility may result in Soil Erosion, Toxification, Salination And Desertification.
Many poor farming and forestry operations encourage erosion. Erosion accelerates when sloping land is ploughed and when grass is removed from Semi-Arid Land To Begin Dry-Land Farming. It accelerates when cattle, sheep and goats are allowed to overgraze and when hillside forests are felled or cut indiscriminately. While there are isolated instances of deserts being reclaimed by irrigation or of new forests being planted, man, in the majority of instances, degrades the soil when he begins agricultural operations.
Poor management practices can also lead to low organic matter. This will result in poor water infiltration, poor water drainage, saturated soil, or compaction. These practices will limit the ability of water to infiltrate the soil causing an increase in the soil salinity and the soil’s ability to buffer salt.
Desertification is the accumulated result of ill-adapted land use and the effects of a harsh climate. Human activities that represent the most immediate causes are:
- over-cultivation exhausts the soil,
- overgrazing removes the vegetation cover that protects it from erosion
- Deforestation destroys the trees that bind the soil to the land and poorly drained irrigation systems turn croplands salty.
- The lack of Education And Knowledge
- The movement of refugees in the case of war, the unfavorable trade conditions of developing countries and other socio-economic and political factors enhance the effects of desertification.
Due to the lack of alternative survival strategies, farmers tend to relentlessly exploit Natural Resources (Food Crops, Water For Drinking And Washing, Firewood) to the point that they are often over-exploited and cannot regenerate naturally. Soil nutrients and organic matter begin to diminish as intensive agriculture removes quantities of nutrients greater than the soil’s natural regeneration capacities. As a consequence, the soil is unable to recover, as it does during fallow periods, resulting is an ever-increasing spiral of environmental degradation and poverty, the principal causes of desertification.