Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘land degradation’

YESTERDAY Was World Soil Day 2014

Posted by feww on December 6, 2014

CRITICALLY LOW LEVELS of Topsoil Have Already Been Reached: FIRE-EARTH, EDRO

Did you know?

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met. FAO

And now, the rest of the story:


[The following was published by our colleagues at EDRO on February 18, 2008. Reprinted with permission from EDRO. ]

No Good for Farming!

“A [farmer] took up land [in Saskatchewan], dug a cellar and built a frame house on top of it; ploughed up the prairie and grew wheat and oats. After 20 years he decided the country was no good for farming, for eight feet of his soil had gone and he had to climb up into his house.” —Richard St. Barbe Baker, My Life, My Trees [Quoted by John Jeavons in How to Grow More Vegetables]

Land Use And Topsoil

Once A Forest!
Photo credit: UNEP


Measuring an average of about 6.6 inches (16.76 centimeters) deep, topsoil is the upper layer of earth’s crust. Topsoil comprises of a mix of humus, mineral and composted materials giving rise to most of the soil’s biological activity and supplying nutrients to plants and therefore to animals. After air and water, topsoil is Earth’s most vital resource.

Topsoil: Wild Facts

Table TS1. Topsoil: Wild Facts
Note: The average bulk density of topsoil is calculated at about 1.4 gcm

Causes of soil degradation

  • Soil erosion, salination, deforestation, overexploitation for fuelwood, overgrazing, nutrient depletion, large scale agricultural activities, industrialization and desertification.
  • The rate of degradation is increased exponentially against large scale agriculture.
  • Severe loss of arable land is affecting our ability to feed the world population.
  • Soil degradation is occurring globally, both in poor and wealthy countries.

Land Use and Degradation

Table TS2. Earth: Land use and degradation

Note: The estimates for Biologically Productive Land are from a 2002 FAO report: The State of Food and Agriculture FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Rome, 2005, ISBN 92-5-105349-9

References [accessed February 1-17, 2008]

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India, too, is shrinking!

Posted by feww on June 18, 2014

SCENARIOS 900, 800, 444, 111, 071, 03

Nearly 2/3 of India Undergoing Desertification, or Land Degradation

More than a quarter of  India’s total land is undergoing desertification, while over a third is facing degradation that has affected its productivity, critically affecting the livelihood and food security of hundreds of millions people across the country, said a report.

About 105.2 million hectares (Mha), or 35.5% of India’s total land area, is being degraded, while 82.2 Mha, or 27.7%,  is undergoing desertification.

Nearly 70 percent of land in India is dry and therefore prone to drought, making it vulnerable to water and wind erosion, salinization and water logging, according to a 2007 report prepared by Indian Space Research Organization.

Soil erosion accounts for about 72 percent of the total degradation in the country, while wind erosion causes over 10 percent of the damage, said the report. Water-logging and salinity/alkalinity are also responsible for the erosion, according to the latest National Report on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought.

The worst affected areas are the states of Rajasthan with 23 Mha desrtified, followed by Gujarat, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir(13 Mha each) and Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (5 Mha each).

“Desertification and loss of biological potential will restrict the transformation of dry lands into productive ecosystem. Climate change will further challenge the livelihood of those living in these sensitive ecosystem and may result in higher levels of resource scarcity,” the report warns.

About 146.82 Mha of the country is severely affected by various kinds of land degradation including water erosion (93.68 Mha), wind erosion (9.48 Mha), waterlogging (14.30 Mha), salinity/alkalinity (5.94 Mha), soil acidity (16.04 Mha) and other causes (7.38 Mha).

Occupying only 2 percent of the world, India is home to 17 percent of the its population.

[NOTE: India’s total area is about 3,287,590 km², including 9.6 percent water. However, the official report incorrectly calculates the total area, which makes the percentage of land affected by desertification and degradation smaller than the actual size.]

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No Fertile Land, No Food!

Posted by feww on July 2, 2008

Accelerated land degradation threatens food security of a quarter of the world’s population: FAO

Main entry: Land degradation threatens 1.5 billion people

A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert in eastern Chad, June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly.
Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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