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Land resources: Availability and Degradation

23-NOV-2015 12:48

    Land is a finite resource is subject to competing pressures from urbanisation, infrastructure, increased food, feed, fibres and fuel production and the provision of key ecosystem services. But it's also a shrinking resource. This is a global problem. Demands for areas to settle grow food and biomass is rising around the world, and climate change is likely to impact on land demand, availability and degradation. The Rio+20 conferences recognised that land and soil degradation are a global problem, and proposed to strive for "a land degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development".

    In economics, land comprises all naturally occurring resources whose supply is inherently fixed. Examples are geographical locations, mineral deposits, and even geostationary orbit locations and portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Natural resources are fundamental to the production of all goods, including capital goods. Location values must not be confused with values imparted by fixed capital improvements. In classical economics, land is considered one of the three factors of production (also sometimes called the three producer goods) along with capital, and labour. Land is sometimes merged with capital to simplify micro-economics.

    Problems related to Land Resources

    Land Degradation: Farmland is under threat due to more and more intense utilization. Every year, between 5 to 7 million hectares of land worldwide is added to the existing degraded farmland. When soil is used more intensively by farming, it is eroded more rapidly by wind and rain. Over irrigating farmland leads to Stalinization, as evaporation of water brings the salts to the surface of the soil on which crops cannot grow. Over irrigation also creates water logging of the topsoil so that crop roots are affected and the crop deteriorates. The use of more and more chemical fertilizers poisons the soil so that eventually the land becomes unproductive.

    Soil erosion: The characteristics of natural ecosystems such as forests and grasslands depend on the type of soil. Soils of various types support a wide variety of crops. The misuse of an ecosystem leads to loss of valuable soil through erosion by the monsoon rains and, to a smaller extent, by wind. The roots of the trees in the forest hold the soil. Deforestation thus leads to rapid soil erosion.

    Conclusion

    You must have come across the three R’s to save the environment: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

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