Soil Degradation – UPSC GS1

Soil Degradation:
  • Soil degradation is the physical, chemical and biological decline in soil condition caused by its improper use or poor management, usually for agricultural, industrial or urban purposes.
  • It can be the loss of organic matter, decline in soil fertility, and structural condition, erosion, adverse changes in salinity, acidity or alkalinity, and the effects of toxic chemicals, pollutants or excessive flooding.
  • The soil degradation is caused by excessive pressure on land to meet the competing demands of the growing population for food, fodder and fibre.
  • These processes, in turn, reduce agricultural productivity leading to social insecurity.
  • Emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere resulting in climate change and global warming could be the major reason for soil degradation.
  • Various human activities, such as the introduction of large scale irrigation canals and faulty land use lead to accelerated soil degradation through salinization, flooding, drought, erosion and waterlogging.
  • The other causes of degradation due to direct/indirect human interventions are:
    • Deforestation and removal of natural vegetation
    • Overgrazing
    • Agriculture-related activities
    • Over exploitation of the vegetation for domestic purpose
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