How does agriculture cause soil degradation


The major causes include:

  1. Land clearance, such as clear cutting and deforestation
  2. Agricultural depletion of soil nutrients through poor farming practices ADVERTISEMENTS:
  3. Livestock including overgrazing
  4. Irrigation and over drafting
  5. Urban sprawl and commercial development
  6. Land pollution including industrial waste ADVERTISEMENTS:
  7. Vehicle off-roading

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When agriculture fields replace natural vegetation, topsoil is exposed and can dry out. The diversity and quantity of microorganisms that help to keep the soil fertile can decrease, and nutrients may wash out. Soil can be blown away by the winds or washed away by rains.


How to prevent soil degradation?

  • Since we aren’t going to stop eating meat, it’s highly recommended that we change our grazing practices. …
  • Irrigation practices need to be modernized to tackle land degradation. …
  • We need to stick to organic sources to improve soil fertility and productivity. …

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How to prevent and reduce soil pollution?

What can I do to reduce land pollution?

  • Use bio-fertilisers. A bio-fertiliser is a substance containing living microorganisms. …
  • Reduce your toxic waste levels. Chemical and oil spills do occur in the areas that are most synonymous with soil pollution (i.e. …
  • Reduce your waste in general. …
  • Recycle your waste. …
  • Use natural soil additives. …

Why is soil degradation bad?

You can reduce soil erosion by:

  • Maintaining a healthy, perennial plant cover.
  • Mulching.
  • Planting a cover crop – such as winter rye in vegetable gardens.
  • Placing crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.

What are the types of degradation?

We validated the use of coulombs transferred between the active cell circuit and ground as an index for quantitatively predicting degradation rate in the field for two thin-film module types undergoing potential-induced degradation (PID). The dependence …


How does agriculture affect soil?

Farming practices such as tilling break up the soil and destroy its natural structure, killing many of the vital bacteria and fungi that live there and leaving it vulnerable to being washed away. “Soil is not just useful for helping us grow food,” says Vargas.

What causes soil degradation?

While soil degradation is a natural process, it can also be caused by human activity. In the last few decades, soil degradation has been sped up by intensive farming practices like deforestation, overgrazing, intensive cultivation, forest fires and construction work.

What causes agricultural degradation?

It can be caused by natural hazards, mismanagement of land as well as unsuitable land use.

What are the top 3 reasons for soil degradation?

Soil deterioration is caused by many factors, with some naturally-occurring, while human activities cause others. The leading causes of soil deterioration are wind and water erosion, deforestation, and urbanization.

What are five causes of soil degradation?

Various Causes of Soil DegradationPhysical Factors. … Biological Factors. … Chemical Factors. … Deforestation. … Misuse or excess use of fertilizers. … Industrial and Mining activities. … Improper cultivation practices. … Urbanization.More items…

How farming destroy the quantity of soil?

Firstly, erosion reduces the capacity of the soil to hold water and make that water available to plants. This subjects crops to more frequent and severe water stress. Secondly, erosion contributes to losses of plant nutrients, which wash away with the soil particles.

How agriculture contributes to the soil and water degradation?

Agriculture as a water polluter: cause Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture can contaminate both groundwater and surface water, as can organic livestock wastes, antibiotics, silage effluents, and processing wastes from plantation crops.

How does farming affect soil quality and quantity?

Agriculture alters the natural cycling of nutrients in soil. Intensive cultivation and harvesting of crops for human or animal consumption can effectively mine the soil of plant nutrients. In order to maintain soil fertility for sufficient crop yields, soil amendments are typically required.

What causes degradation?

It occurs when the earth’s natural resources are depleted, and the environment is compromised in the form of extinction of species, pollution in the air, water and soil, and rapid growth in population. Environmental degradation is one of the largest threats that are being looked at in the world today.

How can agriculture prevent soil erosion?

You can reduce soil erosion by:Maintaining a healthy, perennial plant cover.Mulching.Planting a cover crop – such as winter rye in vegetable gardens. … Placing crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.More items…

What is soil degradation in agriculture?

Soil degradation is a process in which the value of the land and its biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human actions and non-natural phenomenons. The degradation comes from several sources but it is mainly from extensive agriculture.

How agriculture has affected soil?

Agriculture alters the natural cycling of nutrients in soil. Intensive cultivation and harvesting of crops for human or animal consumption can effectively mine the soil of plant nutrients. In order to maintain soil fertility for sufficient crop yields, soil amendments are typically required.

How does farming affect soil erosion?

Tillage, Soil Compaction and Erosion Mechanical tillage and the use of heavy farm equipment can cause both soil compaction and soil erosion if soils are not managed effectively. When topsoil (the portion containing natural nutrients and organic material, which plants need to thrive) is lost, soil fertility is lost.

How does land degradation affect agriculture?

Land clearance, such as clearcutting and deforestation. Agricultural depletion of soil nutrients through poor farming practices. Livestock including overgrazing and overdrafting. Inappropriate irrigation and overdrafting.

What are 3 causes of soil degradation?

Soil degradation causes include agricultural, industrial, and commercial pollution; loss of arable land due to urban expansion, overgrazing, and unsustainable agricultural practices; and long-term climatic changes.

What are the three types of soil degradation?

The type of soil degradation refers to the nature of the degradation process (displacement of soil material by water and wind; in-situ deterioration by physical, chemical and biological processes).

Why is bare soil bad?

Bare ground causes rain to run off swiftly, carrying with it sediment and soil nutrients. The result is erosion, less productive rangeland, and lower water quality.

Soil Degradation

Soil supports 95 percent of all food production. However, studies show that approximately half of the soil’s productive elements have been lost in the last 150 years.

Answer and Explanation: 1

Agriculture is one of the human-induced causes of soil degradation, primarily due to the land’s over-use and the chemicals used. There have been extensive agricultural practices and overgrazing, something that has contributed to high levels of deforestation. This has led to erosion, depletion, and disturbance of soil in an undesirable way.

What are the physical factors that contribute to soil degradation?

Some physical factors contributing to Soil degradation distinguished by the manners in which they change the natural composition and structure of the soil. Rainfall, surface runoff, floods, wind erosion, tillage, and mass movements result in the loss of fertile top spoil thus declining soil quality.

What is soil degradation?

Soil degradation means the decline in soil quality which comes about due to aspects, for example, improper land use, agriculture, and pasture, urban and industrial purposes. It mainly involves the decline of the soil’s physical, biological, and chemical state. Degraded soils have a health status such, that they do not provide …

How does tillage help soil quality?

Proper tillage mechanisms hold as one of the sustainable ways of avoiding soil quality decline. This is otherwise called conservation tillage, which means tillage mechanisms targeted at making very minimal changes to the soil’s natural condition and at the same time improving the soil’s productivity. Examples contain leaving the previous year’s crop residue on the surface to shield the soil from erosion and avoiding poor tillage methods such as deep plowing.

What is the reduction of nutrients in soil?

The reduction of soil nutrients because of alkalinity or acidity of waterlogging are all grouped under the chemical components of soil degradation. In the broadest sense, it comprises alterations in the soil’s chemical property that find out nutrient availability. It is caused by salt buildup and leaching of nutrients which corrupt the quality of soil by creating undesirable changes in the essential soil chemical ingredients.

Why is tillage important?

The tillage on agricultural lands is one of the major factors since it breaks up the soil into finer particles, which increase erosion rates.

How does fertilizer affect soil?

The excessive use and misuse of fertilizers kill organisms that assist in binding the soil together. Most agricultural practices involving the use of fertilizers and pesticides entail misuse or excessive application, thereby contributing to the killing of soil’s beneficial bacteria and other micro-organisms that help in soil formation. The complex forms of the fertilizer’s chemicals are responsible for denaturing essential soil minerals, giving rise to nutrient losses from the soil. Thus, the misuse or excessive use of fertilizers increases the rate of Soil degradation by destroying the soil’s biological activity and builds up of toxicities through incorrect fertilizer use.

Why is soil degradation important?

Because Soil degradation contributes to land degradation, it means that it creates a significant loss of arable land. As stated earlier, about 40% of the world’s agricultural land is lost on the account of soil quality depreciation mainly caused by agrochemicals and soil erosion.


1. World Bank: “Land Resources Management”, 11ByDocName/

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What percentage of the Earth’s habitable land is used for agriculture?

What are the causes of soil erosion?

Causes of soil erosion: Due to human activities like deforestation, overgrazing, construction and mining, etc. Natural forces like wind, glacier and water leads to soil erosion. Wind blows loose soil off flat or sloping land, and is called wind erosion. Soil erosion is also caused due to defective methods of farming.

How to prevent erosion of soil?

Plants prevent wind and water erosion by covering the soil and binding the soil with their roots. The best choice of plants to prevent soil erosion are herbs, wild flowers and small trees.

Which activity accelerates soil erosion?

Farming. Agriculture is probably the most significant activity that accelerates soil erosion because of the amount of land that is farmed and how much farming practices disturb the ground (Figure 1). Farmers remove native vegetation and then plow the land to plant new seeds. Fine soil is blown away by wind.

How does deforestation affect soil?

Deforestation removes vegetation, which anchors soil in place. Without enough trees, soil is vulnerable to erosion and nutrient loss. The absence of roots causes topsoil to easily wash or blow away, leading to decreased soil quality and increased landslides. It’s estimated that a third of the world’s arable land has been lost to soil erosion and degradation since 1960. Once land is cleared and roots are ripped away, cash crops like coffee and soy are planted which can make erosion worse, since their roots cannot anchor into the soil like those of a tree.

What are the causes of crop extinction?

Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change, which is a leading cause of crop extinction. If our forests continue to vanish and release greenhouse gases into the air, crops like coffee, tea, avocados, chocolate, and bananas could be largely lost in our lifetime.

What are the effects of deforestation on the rainforest?

This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, amplification of greenhouse gases, disruption of water cycles, increased soil erosion, and excessive flooding. A significant amount of total deforestation occurs in rainforests, which are home to over 50 percent of plant and animal species on the planet.

Why is meat important to deforestation?

Meat production is a leading cause of deforestation. It destroys animal habitats, cripples biodiversity, and increases GHG emissions in our atmosphere. Consumers often unknowingly support deforestation by purchasing foods, animal byproducts, and wood products sourced from unsustainable operations.

How many acres of forest are cleared per day?

Deforestation is the large-scale clearing of land, generally for agriculture, industry, or transportation. Upwards of 50,000 acres of forest are cleared by farmers and loggers per day worldwide. An area equivalent to over 10,000 football fields is destroyed each day in the Amazon Basin alone. This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, …

What are the causes of deforestation?

Cattle ranching, animal agriculture, and logging are the leading causes of deforestation in our forests. The forest is cut to provide timber to build houses and create specialty wood products, or burned to make room for cattle grazing and feed crop production. This constant destruction of our forests threatens biodiversity, …

Why is soy production increasing?

Soy production has doubled in the past 20 years, largely because of expanding animal agriculture. Every year around 1.2 million acres of land are cleared for soy production in tropical climates, and that number will continue to climb if the world does not reduce consumption of animal protein.

What is soil degradation?

Soil degradation has been defined as a process that leads to decline in the fertility or future productive capacity of soil as a result of human activity (United Nations Environment Programme, 1993). It occurs whenever the natural balances in the landscape are changed by human activity through misuse or overuse of soil.

How does mining affect soil?

Mining disturbs the physical, chemical and biological features of the soil. The impact of mining on soil depends on the physical, chemical properties of the waste generated. The soil profile is changed; the top soil is turned deep inside the dumps.

How does intensive cultivation affect soil fertility?

Soil fertility is reduced due to prolonged intensive cultivation. The farmers maintain productivity of soil by applying chemical fertilizers but make less use of organic manures. Although the yield can be maintained by using fertilizers that provide deficient minerals yet their use often results in deficiencies of other nutrients.

How does salinity affect crop productivity?

Salinity directly affects the productivity by making the soil unsuitable for crop growth. Indirectly it lowers productivity through its adverse effects on the availability of nutrients. The adverse effect of alkalinity on availability of nutrients is due to deflocculating effect of sodium ions. An area of about 21.7 million hectares of soil is rendered unproductive due to salinity and water-logging.

Why do farmers use intensive cropping?

Due to shortage of land, increase of population and economic pressure, the farmers have adopted intensive cropping patterns of commercial crops in place of more balanced cereal-legume rotations. During last two decades the area under food crops decreased and that under non-food crops increased. Intensive cultivation leads to removal of large quantities of nutrients from the soil which results to in loss of soil fertility.

What is the cause of soil erosion?

Deforestation or destruction of forests accompanied by reduced frequency of rainfall leads to soil erosion and causes damage to agriculture property. Deforestation causes fast degradation when the soil is steep sloppy or easily erodible.

What are the factors that affect crop yield?

Some other factors as deforestation, extensive cultivation on marginal land, improper cultivation practices like mono-cropping, poor manuring, misuse of fertilizers or excess use of fertilizers, excessive irrigation, over-grazing, fragility of soil, adverse weather and mining may accelerate the process …


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