It is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human induced processes acting upon the land.
Degraded Land in India:
▪ 130 million hectares of land is degraded in India.
▪ 56% of it is water eroded area.
▪ 28% of it is forest degraded area.
▪ 6% of it is saline and alkaline deposits.
▪ 10% of it is wind eroded area.
Causes of Soil Degradation:
▪ Soil Erosion
▪ Removal of top soil
▪ Soil pollution.
Effects of Land Degradation:
– Soil Erosion: Removal of top fertile layer by the action of wind, water and ice etc.
Management: Maintaining crop cover, proper soil structure, providing adequate drainage system, spring conservation practices.
– Salt affected soils: It is the most degraded land in terms of nutrient management.
Management: Use of acidic fertilizers, secretion of organic acids, use of elemental Sulphur, foliar application of micronutrients, Applying fertilizers in small amount and in bands.
– Nutrient depleted soil: Soils which have lesser amount of nutrients is called as nutrient depleted soils.
Management: Crop rotation, fallowing, application of Farm Yard Manure, mulching and green manuring, integrated fertilization.
Land Conservation Strategies
– Minimum Tillage: It is called conservation tillage, is a soil conservation system with the goal of minimum soil manipulation necessary for a successful crop production. It is a tillage method that does not turn the soil. It is contrary to intensive tillage, which changes the soil structure using ploughs.
In this primary tillage is completely avoided and only secondary tillage is practiced to a small extent.
• Water retention is increased and increases the amount of water in the soil.
• Organic matter increase: plant remains are left on the soil surface to rot and add to the organic matter content in the soil.
• Cycling of nutrients: when the remains of the previous crops are left to rot and mix with soil, the nutrients they had accumulated is returned to the soil.
– Hedge or Hedgerow: A hedge or Hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs and sometimes trees, planted and trained to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area, such as between neighboring properties.
Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or one field from another, and of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees, are known as hedgerows. They serve as windbreaks to improve conditions the adjacent crops. When clipped and maintained hedges are also a simple form of topiary.
• They are recognized as part of a cultural heritage and historical record and for their great value to wildlife and landscape.
• They are valued too for major role they play to prevent soil loss and reducing pollution and for their potential to regulate water supply and to reduce flooding.
• Provide huge role in providing shelter for smaller animals like birds and insects.