Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Land Degradation Related Abstracts

8 Evaluating the Effects of Rainfall and Agricultural Practices on Soil Erosion (Palapye Case Study)

Authors: Mpaphi Major

Abstract:

Soil erosion is becoming an important aspect of land degradation. Therefore it is of great consideration to note any factor that may escalate the rate of soil erosion in our arable land. There exist 3 main driving forces in soil erosion which are rainfall, wind and land use of which in this project only rainfall and land use will be looked at. With the increase in world population at an alarming rate, the demand for food production is expected to increase which will in turn lead to more land being converted from forests to agricultural use of which very few of it are now fertile. In our country Botswana, the rate of crop production is decreasing due to the wearing away of the fertile top soil and poor arable land management. As a result, some studies on the rate of soil loss and farm management practices should be conducted so that best soil and water conservation practices should be employed and hence reduce the risk of soil loss and increase the rate of crop production and yield. The Soil loss estimation model for Southern Africa (SLEMSA) will be used to estimate the rate of soil loss in some selected arable farms within the Palapye watershed and some field observations will be made to determine the management practices used and their impact on the arable land. Upon observations it have been found that many arable fields have been exposed to soil erosion, of which the affected parts are no longer suitable for any crop production unless the land areas are modified. Improper land practices such as ploughing along the slope and land cultivation practices were observed. As a result farmers need to be educated on best conservation practices that can be used to manage their arable land hence reduced risk of soil erosion and improved crop production.

Keywords: Land Degradation, Soil and Water Conservation, soil erosion, SLEMSA

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7 Assessment of Drinking Water Contamination from the Water Source to the Consumer in Palapye Region, Botswana

Authors: Tshegofatso Galekgathege

Abstract:

Poor water quality is of great concern to human health as it can cause disease outbreaks. A standard practice today, in developed countries, is that people should be provided with safe-reliable drinking water, as safe drinking water is recognized as a basic human right and a cost effective measure of reducing diseases. Over 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to a safe water supply and as a result, the majority are forced to use polluted surface or groundwater. It is widely accepted that our water supply systems are susceptible to the intentional or accidental contamination .Water quality degradation may occur anywhere in the path that water takes from the water source to the consumer. Chlorine is believed to be an effective tool in disinfecting water, but its concentration may decrease with time due to consumption by chemical reactions. This shows that we are at the risk of being infected by waterborne diseases if chlorine in water falls below the required level of 0.2-1mg/liter which should be maintained in water and some contaminants enter into the water distribution system. It is believed that the lack of adequate sanitation also contributes to the contamination of water globally. This study therefore, assesses drinking water contamination from the source to the consumer by identifying the point vulnerable to contamination from the source to the consumer in the study area .To identify the point vulnerable to contamination, water was sampled monthly from boreholes, water treatment plant, water distribution system (WDS), service reservoirs and consumer taps from all the twenty (20) villages of Palapye region. Sampled water was then taken to the laboratory for testing and analysis of microbiological and chemical parameters. Water quality analysis were then compared with Botswana drinking water quality standards (BOS32:2009) to see if they comply. Major sources of water contamination identified during site visits were the livestock which were found drinking stagnant water from leaking pipes in 90 percent of the villages. Soils structure around the area was negatively affected because of livestock movement even vegetation in the area. In conclusion microbiological parameters of water in the study area do not comply with drinking water standards, some microbiological parameters in water indicated that livestock do not only affect land degradation but also the quality of water. Chlorine has been applied to water over some years but it is not effective enough thus preventative measures have to be developed, to prevent contaminants from reaching water. Remember: Prevention is better than cure.

Keywords: Land Degradation, Livestock, Water Contamination, leaking systems

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6 Ecosystem Post-Wildfires Effects of Thasos Island

Authors: George N. Zaimes, Valasia Iakovoglou, George D. Ranis

Abstract:

Fires are one of the main types of disturbances that shape ecosystems in the Mediterranean region. However nowadays, climate alterations towards higher temperature regimes results on the increased levels of the intensity, frequency and the spread of fires inducing obstacles for the natural regeneration. Thasos Island is one of the Greek islands that have experienced those problems. Since 1984, a series of wildfires led to the reduction of forest cover from 61.6% to almost 20%. The negative impacts were devastating in many different aspects for the island. The absence of plant cover, post-wildfire precipitation and steep slopes were the major factors that induced severe soil erosion and intense flooding events. That also resulted to serious economic problems to the local communities and the ability of the burnt areas to regenerate naturally. Despite the substantial amount of published work regarding Thasos wildfires, there is no information related to post-wildfire effects on the hydrology and soil erosion. More research related to post-fire effects should help to an overall assessment of the negative impacts of wildfires on land degradation through processes such as soil erosion and flooding.

Keywords: Land Degradation, Regeneration, erosion, wildfires, Mediterranean islands, Thasos

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5 Assessing the Impacts of Riparian Land Use on Gully Development and Sediment Load: A Case Study of Nzhelele River Valley, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Authors: B. Mavhuru, N. S. Nethengwe

Abstract:

Human activities on land degradation have triggered several environmental problems especially in rural areas that are underdeveloped. The main aim of this study is to analyze the contribution of different land uses to gully development and sediment load on the Nzhelele River Valley in the Limpopo Province. Data was collected using different methods such as observation, field data techniques and experiments. Satellite digital images, topographic maps, aerial photographs and the sediment load static model also assisted in determining how land use affects gully development and sediment load. For data analysis, the researcher used the following methods: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient and statistical correlation methods. The results of the research illustrate that high land use activities create negative changes especially in areas that are highly fragile and vulnerable. Distinct impact on land use change was observed within settlement area (9.6 %) within a period of 5 years. High correlation between soil organic matter and soil moisture (R=0.96) was observed. Furthermore, a significant variation (p ≤ 0.6) between the soil organic matter and soil moisture was also observed. A very significant variation (p ≤ 0.003) was observed in bulk density and extreme significant variations (p ≤ 0.0001) were observed in organic matter and soil particle size. The sand mining and agricultural activities has contributed significantly to the amount of sediment load in the Nzhelele River. A high significant amount of total suspended sediment (55.3 %) and bed load (53.8 %) was observed within the agricultural area. The connection which associates the development of gullies to various land use activities determines the amount of sediment load. These results are consistent with other previous research and suggest that land use activities are likely to exacerbate the development of gullies and sediment load in the Nzhelele River Valley.

Keywords: Land Degradation, Geomorphological Processes, drainage basin, gully development, riparian land use and sediment load

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4 The Role of Cornulaca aucheri in Stabilization of Degraded Sandy Soil in Kuwait

Authors: Modi M. Ahmed, Noor Al-Dousari, Ali M. Al-Dousari

Abstract:

Cornulaca aucheri is an annual herb consider as disturbance indicator currently visible and widely distributed in disturbed lands in Liyah area. Such area is suffered from severe land degradation due to multiple interacting factors such as, overgrazing, gravel and sand quarrying, military activities and natural process. The restoration program is applied after refilled quarries sites and levelled the surface irregularities in order to rehabilitate the natural vegetation and wildlife to its original shape. During the past 10 years of rehabilitation, noticeable greenery healthy cover of Cornulaca sp. are shown specially around artificial lake and playas. The existence of such species in high density it means that restoration program has succeeded and transit from bare ground state to Cornulaca and annual forb state. This state is lower state of Range State Transition Succession model, but it is better than bare soil. Cornulaca spp is native desert plant grows in arid conditions on sandy, stony ground, near oasis, on sand dunes and in sandy depressions. The sheep and goats are repulsive of it. Despite its spiny leaves, it provides good grazing for camels and is said to increase the milk supply produced by lactating females. It is about 80 cm tall and has stems that branched from the base with new faster greenery growth in the summer. It shows good environmental potential to be managed as natural types used for the restoration of degraded lands in desert areas.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, Land Degradation, range state transition succession model, restoration program

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3 The Climate Change and Soil Degradation in the Czech Republic

Authors: Miroslav Dumbrovsky

Abstract:

The paper deals with impacts of climate change with the main emphasis on land degradation, agriculture and forestry management in the landscape. Land degradation, due to adverse effect of farmers activities, as a result of inappropriate conventional technologies, was a major issue in the Czech Republic during the 20th century and will remain for solving in the 21st century. The importance of land degradation is very high because of its impact on crop productivity and many other adverse effects. Land degradation through soil degradation is causing losses on crop productivity and quality of the environment, through decreasing quality of soil and water (especially water resources). Negative effects of conventional farming practices are increased water erosion, as well as crusting and compaction of the topsoil and subsoil. Soil erosion caused by water destructs the soil’s structure, reduces crop productivity due to deterioration in soil physical and chemical properties such as infiltration rate, water-holding capacity, loss of nutrients needed for crop production, and loss of soil carbon. Water erosion occurs on fields with row crops (maize, sunflower), especially during the rainfall period from April to October. Recently there is a serious problem of greatly expanded production of biofuels and bioenergy from field crops. The result is accelerated soil degradation. The damages (on and off- site) are greater than the benefits. An effective soil conservation requires an appropriate complex system of measures in the landscape. They are also important to continue to develop new sophisticated methods and technologies for decreasing land degradation. The system of soil conservation solving land degradation depend on the ability and the willingness of land users to apply them. When we talk about land degradation, it is not just a technical issue but also an economic and political issue. From a technical point of view, we have already made many positive steps, but for successful solving the problem of land degradation is necessary to develop suitable economic and political tools to increase the willingness and ability of land users to adopt conservation measures.

Keywords: Climate Change, Land Degradation, Soil Conservation, soil erosion

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2 Assessment of Land Use and Land Cover Change in Lake Ol Bolossat Catchment, Nyandarua County, Kenya

Authors: John Wangui, Charles Gachene, Stephen Mureithi, Boniface Kiteme

Abstract:

Land use changes caused by demographic, natural variability, economic, technological and policy factors affect the goods and services derived from an ecosystem. In the past few decades, Lake Ol Bolossat catchment in Nyandarua County Kenya has been facing challenges of land cover changes threatening its capacity to perform ecosystems functions and adversely affecting communities and ecosystems downstream. This study assessed land cover changes in the catchment for a period of twenty eight years (from 1986 to 2014). Analysis of three Landsat images i.e. L5 TM 1986, L5 TM 1995 and L8 OLI/TIRS 2014 was done using ERDAS 9.2 software. The results show that dense forest, cropland and area under water increased by 27%, 29% and 3% respectively. On the other hand, open forest, dense grassland, open grassland, bushland and shrubland decreased by 3%, 3%, 11%, 26% and 1% respectively during the period under assessment. The lake was noted to have increased due to siltation caused by soil erosion causing a reduction in Lake’s depth and consequently causing temporary flooding of the wetland. The study concludes that the catchment is under high demographic pressure which would lead to resource use conflicts and therefore formulation of mitigation measures is highly recommended.

Keywords: Remote Sensing, Land Degradation, land use change, Land Cover, Nyandarua

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1 Land Degradation Assessment through Spatial Data Integration in Eastern Chotanagpur Plateau, India

Authors: Avijit Mahala

Abstract:

Present study is primarily concerned with the physical processes and status of land degradation in a tropical plateau fringe. Chotanagpur plateau is one of the most water erosion related degraded areas of India. The granite gneiss geological formation, low to medium developed soil cover, undulating lateritic uplands, high drainage density, low to medium rainfall (100-140cm), dry tropical deciduous forest cover makes the Silabati River basin a truly representative of the tropical environment. The different physical factors have been taken for land degradation study includes- physiographic formations, hydrologic characteristics, and vegetation cover. Water erosion, vegetal degradation, soil quality decline are the major processes of land degradation in study area. Granite-gneiss geological formation is responsible for developing undulating landforms. Less developed soil profile, low organic matter, poor structure of soil causes high soil erosion. High relief and sloppy areas cause unstable environment. The dissected highland causes topographic hindrance in productivity. High drainage density and frequency in rugged upland and intense erosion in sloppy areas causes high soil erosion of the basin. Decreasing rainfall and increasing aridity (low P/PET) threats water stress condition. Green biomass cover area is also continuously declining. Through overlaying the different physical factors (geological formation, soil characteristics, geomorphological characteristics, etc.) of considerable importance in GIS environment the varying intensities of land degradation areas has been identified. Middle reaches of Silabati basin with highly eroded laterite soil cover areas are more prone to land degradation.

Keywords: Land Degradation, aridity, tropical environment, GIS environment, lateritic upland, undulating landform

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