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Pressures on Land/Soil Resources

I. Introduction
Comparing the condition of our environment from previous years up to the
present, no one can deny about the fact that our environment is constantly
changing. However, as our environment changes, so does the need to become
progressively more aware of the problems that surround it. Living in this world
while knowing and experiencing different cumbersome natural disasters,
warming and cooling periods, as well as different types of weather patterns, and
etc, it would be much better for the people to be more aware of the different
types of environmental issues our planet is facing.
One of the undeniable issues of our environment focuses on land
pressures and soil resources. Land is an essential natural resource, both for the
survival and prosperity of humanity, and for the maintenance of terrestrial
ecosystems. Land and soils constitute the foundation for sustainable agricultural
development, essential ecosystem functions and food security. They are key to
sustaining life on Earth. Soil is a core component of land resources and the
foundation of agricultural development and ecological sustainability. It is the basis
for food, feed, fuel and fiber production and for many critical ecological services.
The exploitation of land resources by the people for satisfying their own
needs have become even more extensive over the years. The increase in human
demand for these resources gives a way to degradation on land quality and
quantity, competition for land, as well as the decline in crop production. Thus,
people should now become more focused with their responsibility of taking care
of these resources for the sake of future generations.

II. Problem
Currently, land resources are clearly under stress; 16 percent of arable
land is degraded and the percentage is increasing. Traditional systems of land
management are either breaking down or are no longer appropriate, and the
management and technology needed to replace them is not always available.
The primary reason for this situation is the increasing demands placed on land by
the unprecedented rate of population growth and the effects it induces.
Externalities related to global change are also becoming a constraint to
sustainable land management.
Land is becoming more and more scarce as a resource, and this is
particularly true of land available for primary production of biomass or for
conservation related purposes. Competition for land among different uses is
becoming acute and conflicts related to this competition more frequent and more
complex. This competition is often most apparent on the peri-urban fringe, where
the continuing pressures of urban expansion compete with agricultural
enterprises, and with recreational demands. Such situations frequently lead to
rapid increases in the economic value of land, and land tenure becomes an
important political issue.
The land surface in extensive parts of the world is changing because of
the intense agricultural methods necessary to provide for a growing population
with an increasing per capita consumption. Soil erosion by wind and water,
leaching of nutrients, and extension of arid zones have been caused by such
improper land-uses as overgrazing in waterless zones, deforestation in areas
with unstable soils and over-use of both surface and ground-water resources.
Usually, these problems are local or regional in nature and are the responsibility
of individual governments. However, because similar changes in soil fertility have
occurred throughout the world in many nations, a global, multi-governmental
approach to the problem is appropriate. Moreover, because the local effects of

decreased soil fertility may be very significant, the economy of adjacent regions
may also be affected. Extension of arid zones can also induce large-scale
climatic changes by allowing considerable amounts of windblown dust to become
airborne.

III. Current Solution


It is being recognized that land degradation, addressing desertification,
and drought challenges will be critical for the achievement by small island
developing States of food security and nutrition, their adaptation to climate
change, the protection of their biodiversity and the development of resilience to
natural disasters. Theres a strong support for the efforts of small island
developing States in designing and implementing preparedness and resilience
policies relating to desertification, land degradation and drought as a matter of
priority and in catalyzing financial resources from a range of public and private
sources, as well as in promoting the sustainability of their limited soil resources.
There is also recognition about the economic and social significance of
good land management, including soil, particularly its contribution to economic
growth, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and food security, eradicating
poverty, womens empowerment, addressing climate change and improving
water availability. It is also stressed that desertification, land degradation and
drought are challenges of a global dimension and continue to pose serious
challenges to the sustainable development of all countries, in particular
developing countries.

IV. Recommendation
A sustainable development is more likely not impossible to achieve with
the proper use and management of land and soil. The promotion of it can lead to
healthy soils and thus to the effort of reducing hunger and food insecurity and to
stable ecosystem.
The following are recommendations
development of land and soil resources.

in

achieving

sustainable

Promote education programs on sustainable soil management.

Strong regulations and effective control by governments should be put in


place in order to limit the accumulation of contaminants beyond established
thresholds for human health and wellbeing and eventually to remediate
contaminated soils;

What needs to be done?


The sustainable use and management of land and soils is linked to many different areas
of sustainable development. There is an urgent need to stop land degradation and soil
nutrient depletion and establish frameworks for sustainable land and soil management
systems.
Promoting the sustainable management of land and soils can contribute to healthy soils
and thus to the effort of eradicating hunger and food insecurity and to stable
ecosystems.
The Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils recommends the following actions:

Suitable technologies, sustainable and inclusive politics, effective extension


programmes and sound education systems need to be provided so that more is
produced with less;

Soil protection and reclamation and sustainable land management projects


should be included in the current emerging markets that provide an economic value to
those actions that produce ecosystem services. Governments have to recognize the
increasing need to preserve soils and make corresponding investments;

Promote management practices for climate change adaptation and mitigation,


and resilience to changing weather patterns and extremes. Protection and management
of organic carbon rich soils, notably peatlands and permafrost areas are of particular
concern;

Increase the area under sustainable soil management practices, enhance the
restoration of degraded soils, and promote sustainable production intensification
through adapted biological resources, increasing soil fertility, water use efficiency,
ensuring sustainable use of inputs and recycling of agricultural by-products;

Support the development of national soil information systems to assist decisionmaking on sustainable land and natural resources uses; and increase investment in
sustainable soil management through overcoming obstacles including tenure security
and user rights, access to knowledge and financial services;