Land Degradation, Environment and Food Security


Vol NO: VOL. 12, ISSUE 73,

"Land degradation indicates temporary or permanent long-term decline in ecosystem function and productive capacity. It may refer to the destruction or deterioration in health of terrestrial ecosystems, affecting the associated biodiversity, natural ecological processes and ecosystem resilience. It also considers the reduction or loss of biological/economic productivity and complexity of croplands, pasture, woodland, forest, etc. Land degradation has both, on-site and off-site effects. On-site effects are in terms of reduced/increased outputs (crop yields, livestock yields). Off-site effects on the other hand, are related to water erosion through changes in the water regime, including decline in river water quality and sedimentation of river beds and reservoirs. Land degradation undermines many of the fundamental processes especially nutrient, water and carbon cycling, which underwrite the integrity of ecosystems. Land degradation results from natural or anthropogenic causes, the former often determining the inherent capacity of the ecosystem to provide goods and services. Anthropogenic causes are determined by land use/changes and economic factors. The physical processes, which contribute to land degradation are primarily water and wind erosion, compaction, crusting and w

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    G P Obi Reddy and Dipak Sarkar

    In developing countries like India, land degradation has been hastened in recent times due to burgeoning population and the amplified exploitation of natural resources. Land degradation undermines livelihood opportunities - triggers poverty, migration and food insecurity.

    The authors are Sr. Scientist, GIS Section and Director respectively; National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (ICAR) Nagpur.

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