4.01.2016

Examples of land degradation

Global Bilgiler  /  at  13:50  /  No comments

Soil salinization
There are several severe consequences linked to increased land degradation.
In irrigated lands, where water from underground reservoirs is often polluted, evaporation brings mineral salts to the surface, resulting in high salinity. This will render the soil unsuitable for crops which cannot withstand high salt concentrations. Similarly, vegetation cover may not be given enough time to re-establish itself during intensive grazing periods or when grazing activities affect plots that have already been cultivated.
Deforestation
Water speeds up erosion, as a direct result of tree clearing and deforestation, and the forest ecosystem disappears. This has severe consequences for soil fertility as well as for the preservation of animal and plant species. In fact, roots maintain soil structure and can limit soil erosion since they help water infiltration, which reduces water run-off, encouraging the composition of rich, productive soil. Leaves falling from trees reduce the action of the wind on the soil surface. Dead tree parts fall to the ground, decompose and enrich the soil with organic matter.
Environmental degradation
Land degradation can also trigger a cycle of environmental degradation, impoverishment, migration and conflict, often jeopardizing the political stability of affected countries and regions. Populations in drylands often endure very harsh economic conditions, suffering from low per-capitaincome and high infant mortality rates. Soil degradation in drylands further exacerbates the problem. The decline in the fertility of land reduces crop production and prospects of additional income.
Degraded land may also cause downstream flooding, poor water quality, sedimentation in rivers and lakes, and silting up of reservoirs and navigation channels. It can cause sand and dust storms and air pollution, resulting in damaged machinery, reduced visibility, unwanted sediment deposits, unsafe communication, risks to health, and mental stress.
All this draws a dramatic and negative picture of increasingly difficult development. But there are solutions and grounds for hope. Desertification can be reversed, but only if far-reaching changes are made in local and international action. Step by step, these changes will ultimately lead to sustainable land use and food security for a growing world population.

Combating desertification is really just part of a much broader objective: the sustainable development of countries affected by drought, land degradation and desertification (DLDD).

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