Unit 1: Land degradation problems

Gandhiv Kafle Lecturer, IOF, Hetauda

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WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering - by Gandhiv Kafle

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Land & land degradation?
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Land:
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soil resource, water, vegetation, Wildlife, landscape, and microclimatic components of an ecosystem.

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Land degradation: temporary or permanent lowering of the productive capacity of land
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Causes of land degradation
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Causes of land degradation are the agents that determine the rate of degradation. Biophysical (land use and land management, including deforestation and tillage methods), Socioeconomic (e.g. land tenure, marketing, institutional support, income), and Political (e.g. incentives, political stability)
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Process of land degradation
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Physical processes: decline in soil structure leading to compaction, erosion, desertification, environmental pollution, and unsustainable use of natural resources. Chemical processes: acidification, leaching, salinization, decrease in cation retention capacity, and fertility depletion. Biological processes: reduction in total and biomass carbon, and decline in land biodiversity.
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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} Land

degradation is a major problem in all South Asian countries. } Degradation caused by water is perhaps the greatest challenge facing South Asia, as many areas have periods of high rainfall and steep mountainous regions. } The steep and fragile landscape & geology of Nepal is susceptible to soil erosion and landslides.
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Estimates of the global extent (in million km2) of land degradation (Oldeman, 1994)

WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Impacts of land degradation
Onsite impacts
} decline

Offsite impacts
} sedimentation

in land quality on site where degradation occurs (e.g. erosion)

of reservoirs, dams, decline in river water quality, air pollution (carbon emission), food scarcity and malnutrition WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Water erosion
erosion is the process of detaching the soil particles from the land surface of one place and its transportation to another place for deposition by water. } Water erosion involves three distinct processes: a. Detachment, b. Transportation and c. Deposition
} Water

WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

Main forms of water erosion
erosion } Sheet erosion } Rill erosion } Gully erosion } Streambank erosion
Rills: <1 foot depth Small gullies: <3 feet depth Medium gullies: 3-15 feet depth Large gullies: 15-30 feet depth Ravines: >30 feet depth
} Splash
Transportation Deposition Detachment

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Water erosion prediction equation
} Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE; Wischmeier & Smith 1978). }E
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= R. K. L. S. C. P
E is the mean annual soil loss (ton ha-1), R is the rainfall erosivity factor, K is the soil erodibility factor (ton ha-1), L is the slope length factor, S is the slope steepness factor, C is the crop management factor and P is the erosion-control practice factor.
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

Wind erosion
erosion is the erosion of soil by the action of wind. } It is caused by the transportation of soil particles from one place to another through wind.
} Wind

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Soil movement due to wind erosion

WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

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Guess questions
is land degradation? Why is the land degradation a serious problem? } Define water erosion and its mechanism. Describe the types of water erosion. } Write a short note on water erosion prediction equation. } Define wind erosion. Indicate its types. } Soil erosion is a serious problem for the farming communities of Nepal. Justify it.
WME 508: Soil and water conservation engineering by Gandhiv Kafle

} What

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