The desert has been unjustly thought of by some as the cause of desertification because semi-arid areas surround desert. Normally they increase the bioavailability of hydrophobic compounds by reducing their water repellence (Paradelo et al., 2009). It became more dangerous because it directly or indirectly effects the food security and environment. This calls for effective strategies and methods for its implementation, which requires the cooperation of specialists from many disciplines. This usually checks or reduces the velocity of run off so that soil support vegetation. They are highly adapted to climatic variability and water stress, but also extremely vulnerable to damaging human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing and unsustainable agricultural practices, which cause land degradation. Strip farming: Poor land-use practices and population pressure are the major drivers of land degradation in Ethiopia (Genanew and Alemu 2012; Berry 2003). Zulfiqar Ahmad, ... Azeem Khalid, in Advances in Agronomy, 2018. However, rapidly changing social and economic conditions—along with the potential for climate change—pose many serious challenges to the Mediterranean region. Land degradation means: 1) Loss of natural fertility of soil because of loss of nutrients. We hope this will be of use to scientists from different disciplines that are involved in ecological restoration projects and can stimulate meaningful interdisciplinary cooperation in this field. The major causes of desertification include overgrazing, overcultivation of marginal land, unsustainable ‘slash-and-burn’ agricultural practice, logging for fuelwood, and poor irrigation techniques. ... Generally associated … Biosurfactants may also contribute to agricultural sustainability by acting as antimicrobial agents for disease control. 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In this highly interactive cycle, a desire for security and wealth drives deforestation, overgrazing, and unsustainable use of soils and water, all of which cause agroecosystem degradation. Desertification, on the other hand, generally occurs after a prolonged degradation of land. As a result, there has been a renewed emphasis on national programs of abatement in numerous Mediterranean countries. The consequence of this degradation is the loss of biodiversity and the breakdown of ecosystem functions that regulate food chains, nutrient cycling, and the incidence and severity of pests, diseases, and weeds. The impact of land degradation on agricultural productivity represents an on-site cost. Permaculture. For example, moderate desertification causes a 10–25% drop in agricultural productivity, while severe desertification can result in a productivity loss of 50% or more. Some of the main reasons for this are use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers that affected the fertility levels of the soil after the initial harvests, indiscriminate extraction of groundwater leading to reduced water tables, and increased salinity of the soil. Severe salinization and waterlogging may lead to complete crop failure. Land degradation leads to the reduction or loss of the P. Bullock, in Developments in Crop Science, 1997, Although problems of land degradation associated with some agricultural systems have been long acknowledged, a much wider group of environmental problems are now recognised e.g. The water-holding capacity of a degraded soil is only a fraction of a virgin soil. It is due mainly to nonsustainable human activities, such as overcultivation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices and is often triggered or exacerbated by climate variability, mainly drought. Nevertheless, in the search for sustainable global futures, land degradation has once again come to the fore. That is why, they have been causing land degradation (among other things). Gradually, the top soil loses its fertility. In particular, the availability, distribution, and use of water underlies many of the contemporary themes of land degradation. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. This small amount of rainfall is concentrated within a short period known as the wet season, ranging from several weeks in arid areas to several months in semi-arid areas; dry conditions similar to desert climate persist during the rest of the year. The problems are especially severe in Africa, where more than 80% of countries are nitrogen-deficient, and where nutrient loss has been estimated at 9–58 kg ha−1 year−1 in the 28 worst affected countries and 61–88 kg ha−1 year−1 in 21 others (Chianu et al., 2012). In Southern Rhodesia, research evidence of the potential seriousness of erosion directly led to the formation of the Department of Conservation and Extension (CONEX), which carried out major conservation planning and design works throughout the country. Yet, there is no doubt that the sustained research and institutional effort in the US, spurred originally by the Dust Bowl era, has not only raised awareness of land degradation but also done much to conserve that nation's soils today. The issue of land degradation is further contributing to the loss of production. The degradation comes from several sources but it is mainly from extensive agriculture. At least 25% of the world's land area is affected by desertification to some degree. Copyright 10. Land degradation caused by agriculture takes many forms and has many causes. At international level, there is now a new urgency in addressing land degradation. The salinity is high in both the soil and the stored water in dry lands, and excessive evaporation and transpiration (collectively referred to as ‘evapotranspiration’) tend to accumulate soluble minerals in the upper soil. FAO has a mandate to: support its member countries and partners in developing or reforming norms, standards and policies; provide technical advice; and implement national and local programmes through capacity development and technical knowledge management activities. Compliance involved using research outputs such as the ‘Universal Soil Loss Equation’ which calculated rates of soil loss for various planned land uses, comparing these with a benchmark known as the ‘tolerable soil loss,’ a rate at which it was said that future production would not be jeopardized. The aim of this project was to understand, predict, and mitigate the effects of desertification in Mediterranean countries of the EU, including the southern and eastern parts of the Iberian Peninsula of Spain, Mediterranean France, Italian Mezzogiorno, and almost all of Greece. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate,and depend on the specific context. For pasture lands, livestock overgrazing is the main cause of desertification; removal of vegetation directly by humans for agriculture and other purposes has caused most of the desertification in rain-fed lands; incorrect irrigation practice is responsible for the degradation of most irrigated lands. Following are some practises for controlling land degradation: It is & practice in which cultivated crops are sown in alternative strips to prevent water movement. ... India’s precarious groundwater situation, land degradation and the threat of climate change all together make CA a desirable proposition – at least if we intend to tackle these challenges without comprising our … Land degradation in many Pacific Island Countries (PICs) has become an emerging concern in recent years. According to a study conducted by Ajai et al. (Leaching Estimation and Chemistry Model). Soil erosion is one of the factors responsible for lad degradation. In this way, they can change the enzyme conformation structure, thus, altering the enzyme specificity, activity, and functions (Kamiya et al., 2000) and consequently improve the degradation of chemical contaminants. 2 billion people and the impact of its effects will only grow with time. Overgrazing and excessive fuelwood collection destroy the protective layer of plants, exposing the top layer soil to wind and water erosion. Yet, it is an old problem (e.g., Jacks and Whyte 1939), that has undergone a series of often-emotive revivals every decade since the Dust Bowl era in the mid-West USA (e.g., Osborn 1948, Carson 1962, Commoner 1972; Blaikie and Brookfield 1986). Image Courtesy : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karst_following_phosphate_mining_on_Nauru.jpg. It can be prevented by formation of ridge and furrow during irrigation which lessens run off. Content Filtrations 6. Before publishing your articles on this site, please read the following pages: 1. The net result highlighted by this conceptual cycle of land degradation and social deprivation is that in developing countries where farmers are poor and must rely on a small piece of land for all their household needs, the benefits expected from existing agricultural technologies, such as improved crop varieties and livestock breeds, are constrained by a need for income to purchase the inputs essential for food production. In the past several decades, desertification has become a devastating problem of global concern. An optimum mix of fertilizer, along with sound crop management practices is required for reducing the issue of land degradation. The causes of land degradation can be divided into natural hazards, direct causes, and underlying causes. FAO implements a range of SLM-related programmes and approaches, such as farmer field schools; conservation agriculture; catchment- and far… Climatic conditions are one of the most important determining factors affecting agriculture, especially in the Mediterranean areas, with irregular rainfall and high summer temperatures. 3. The mid-term assessment of the 11th Five Year Plan (GoI 2008a) suggests that the fertilizers used for enhancing the crop production has led to micronutrient deficiencies in the soil, leading to reduced capacity of crop growth and production. Arid and semi-arid areas (or ‘dry lands’) generally receive an annual rainfall less than 600 mm, with high interannual variability. ... intensive nature of … (European Soil Erosion Model) (Morgan et al., 1994). Land shortage and poverty, taken together, lead to non-sustainable land management practices, meaning the direct causes of degradation. The driving force for the renewed interest comes from new data from international projects such as the Dutch-based Global Assessment of Soil Degradation (see Table 1). The figure shows that very severe degradation occurred in northern Ethiopia (the food basket area), Sudan, and part of Somalia. ... Inappropriate land management practices refer to the use of land in ways which could be sustainable if properly managed, but where the necessary practices are not adopted. The series of Sahel droughts in the mid-1980s illustrates the image problem of land degradation. Land degradation is the major consequences of direct interference of human activities in the natural phenomenon. The main causes of erosion on agricultural land are intensive cultivation, overgrazing, poor management of arable soils and deforestation. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well-known ones. Report a Violation, Land Degradation: Mechanisms and Causes of Land Degradation, Land Degradation: 9 Main Causes of Land Degradation, Mineral Resources: Useful Notes on the Types and Uses of Mineral Resources. In the US, worries about land degradation supported by pictures of (usually) wind erosion engulfing farmhouses and fields, triggered massive expenditure on research and new institutions. Overgrazing refers to excessive eating of grasses and other green plants by cattle. Based on the chemical characteristics of the biosurfactants, the pollutants, and the physiology of the microorganisms, both stimulating and inhibitory effects of biosurfactants have been reported (Van Hamme et al., 2006). Asa L. Aradottir, Dagmar Hagen, in Advances in Agronomy, 2013. Such changes have resulted in the abandonment of land for traditional agriculture and the increase in demand for water for urban expansion, tourism, and irrigation, resulting in increased land-use conflicts. Current estimates are that land degradation affects 2 billion hectares (38% of world cropping area) (Eswaran et al., 2006), with soil erosion affecting 83% of the global degraded area (Bai et al., 2008). Soil degradation is a serious global environmental problem and may be exacerbated by climate change. These factors make dry lands subject to anthropogenic desertification. Headlined ‘drought,’ its main impact came through widespread crop and grazing land failure due to the reduced capability of the degraded soils to support plant growth. Historically, the failure to recognize and include the interdependencies of these three dimensions has slowed progress by the UNCCD in tackling the enormous problem of dryland degradation, although recent developments are encouraging. In terms of the affected land area, Asia suffers the most, with more than 1.3 billion hectares of dry lands degraded. Continuous tillage of the soil definitely lead to land degradation and leaching which in turn leads to loss of soil nutrients. Leakey, in Multifunctional Agriculture, 2017. Table 1. In this chapter, we specifically discuss the use and application of biosurfactants for sustainable soil management with the view that biosurfactants and bioemulsifiers can potentially play a more prominent role in the future. 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