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July 25, 2024
GreentvAfrica News

Effects of Land Degradation on the Environment

Land is an essential resource to mankind, just like air and water, it’s effect globally is felt
through food insecurity, higher food cost, Climate Change, Environmental hazards, and the loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem.

Land degradation is a concept in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by one or more combination of human induced processes acting upon the land, referring to the impairment of natural quality of soil component of the ecosystem. Land degradation which is also seen as a decline in land quality caused by human activities, has been a major global issue since the 20th century and it has remained high on the international agenda in the 21st century.
The importance of land degradation is enhanced because of its impact on food security and quality of the environments.

Land degradation can be viewed as any change or disturbance to the land perceived to be deleterious, studies has shown losses of the biological and economic productivity and complexity of rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, range, forest and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a combination of processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns such as soil erosion caused by wind or water, deterioration of the physical, chemical, biological and economic properties of soil and long-term loss of natural vegetation and also off-site effects, such as loss of watershed functions.

Natural hazards are excluded as a cause of land degradation, however, human activities can indirectly affect phenomena such as floods and bush fires.

Research has shown that larger part of agricultural land are seriously degraded in Africa.
Furthermore, the main outcome of land degradation is a substantial reduction in the productivity of the land, while its major causes include, land clearance poor farming practices, overgrazing, inappropriate irrigation, urban sprawl, and commercial development, land pollution including industrial waste and quarrying of stone, sand and minerals.

High population density is not necessarily related to land degradation within Africa, but it is what a population does to the land that determines the extent of degradation, such where large proportion of human population depend almost entirely on land resources for their sustenance, this over dependency results in the increasing competing demand for land utilization such as grazing, fish pond construction, quarrying, crop farming amongst others.

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