Land Degradation and Conservation

Land degradation is a worldwide problem. The denuding action of weathering, running water, air, etc. on the upper layer of the earth, is called land erosion.

Land is an important resource provides food, clothing, minerals, other raw materials, and shelter for human beings. Substantial reduction in the productivity of the land is the main outcome of land degradation. Soil, which is a part of land, is the gift of nature, which is available in limited quantity. Soil formation is a slow process. It takes hundreds of years to form. Therefore, it is necessary to put the available land to various uses with the most careful and planned way.

India is a vast country having a 3.28 million square kilometer area, with 22.5% under the forest, 46 % under the net sown area, 8% fallow land, and rest under the other uses. Land under the forest has increased from 14 % in 1950-51 to 22% in 1998-99. The forest-covered area is below the 33% of the total area, which is essential for balanced development. High growth of cities has depleted the forest cover. Mountainous slopes and semi desert areas are the most vulnerable by the running water and wind. In the plain, grinding of limestone for cement industry, release heavy amount of dust in the atmosphere. This later settles down in the surrounding areas, affects' water, and crop cultivation.

Human being has been creating their own world of living by constructing roads, railway, towns, industry, etc. Overgrazing by livestock, deforestation, poor farming practices, inappropriate irrigation, over drafting, Urban sprawl, land pollution, industrial waste, mining and quarrying of sandstone, ore and minerals, etc. are the major causes of land degradation.

We can conserve our land resources by adopting necessary measures:

1. All water resources, especially fresh water, should be used judiciously.
2. By educating and informing people and empowering local communities about its sustainable use for to fulfill needs.
3. Deforested areas should be replaced by tree plantations. Cutting of timber should be restricted and women should be involved in the movements for conservation of forests.
4. Inadequate land for pasturing, resort to animal grazing in area reserved for forest. This practice should be stopped immediately.
5. All the fallow land and wasteland must be under such tree, which can fulfill primary requirement of surrounding regions.
6. In the hilly or mountainous areas, fields must be ploughed along the natural contour of the hills.
7. A terraced farming method shall be adopting in the Rice growing regions along the slop.
8. At the margin of desert, shelter belts shall have planted to check the speed of winds.
9. Stabilization of sand dunes by planting grasses and thorny bushes can help land conservation.
10. Tribal people need to be educated to stop shifting agriculture.
11. Soil salination in irrigated land should be checked to reclaim the land.
12. Proper discharge, disposal of industrial and domestic, effluents and waste.
13. Desert and semi desert areas should be under the cover of grasses, and availability of water should be increased.
14. Land should be shielding from the overuse for chemical pesticide, insecticide, etc.
15. Chemical fertilizer in agriculture should be replaced with organic manure.

Land degradation is the result of unscientific development. Although land use in India is balanced one, but high growth of population may create imbalance. Exploration of land resources for prosperity may be a result of poverty and invitations to the natural calamity. Therefore, we need environment-friendly development for our food, shelter, and above all for the sake of human being.

Discover Nature and Wildlife Within The Natural World

You can find a wide range of God's creatures on mother earth, anything from beetles and fungi, reptiles and wild birds to hedgehogs, moles and domestic dogs and cats. Each of these and many more, play their part in the creation and maintenance of our world. Why not find out about our natural world in a varied range of nature books. Naturally, everybody could do their bit in order that the natural world continues to sustain life, not just the life of mankind but the miles and miles of plant life and forests, the birds and wildlife in the midst of it and not forgetting the polar ice caps, which is also home to a variety of animals, such as polar bears and penguins.

Our journey through the natural world category gets underway with the beetle. A beetle is an insect that has a hard outer covering and with roughly 4,000 different species in Britain alone could make them the commonest animal worldwide. They feed on numerous types of food that include plants, fungi and leaf litter. Beetles come in quite a lot of different colours that gives camouflage from predators. The beetle family comprises of ladybirds, stag beetles, devils coach horses, whirligig beetles, woodworm (or furniture beetles), dung beetles, scarab beetles, weevils, water beetles and longhorn beetles.

Human beings are exposed to nature everywhere we go and we're straightaway surrounded by it whenever we step foot outside, in our gardens, which gets visited by a variety of insects and birds every day, perhaps even nightingales. The nightingale feeds mainly on insects as they are insectivores and they also love to sing at night as well as during the day. Most other birds normally only sing when it is light.

They are secretive birds that live in open broad-leaved woodlands, heaths, coppices and thick undergrowth. Like the beetles above their drab brown colour acts as good camouflage which makes them difficult to see, however they can always be heard because of their distinctive song.

With its small, brown, spiky body the hedgehog is one of the most familiar wild mammals. They can be spotted in parks and gardens under bushes and hedges in the daytime. Although once dusk arrives they love to go off in search of insect rich lawns and flower beds in order to feed. Hedgehogs are known as the gardener's best friend as they love to munch on big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs.

The badger is easily recognisable especially with its black and white striped face and is our biggest land predator. The badger family includes stoats, weasels and otters. The badger is known to be a nocturnal animal which lives in a burrow known as a sett. They will feed on small mammals, ground-nesting birds eggs, earthworms, fruit and roots and bulbs, which they dig up with their strong front paws.

Our journey through the natural world category concludes with the Amazon rainforest which is described as the 'lungs of the earth' as it is able to continuously recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen producing around 20% of the world's supply. The rainforest covers over a billion acres of land and if it were classed as a country it would be about the ninth largest in the natural world.

It is from the rainforest that at least 80% of the developed world's diet originated, giving us fruit, vegetables, spices, sugar cane, coffee and nuts such as Brazil and cashews. The rainforests not only provide some of the foods we eat but many of the plants there have been proven to be of great medicinal value and many of which have been found to be active against cancer cells.

The natural world is truly an amazing and inspiring place in which we can discover the many plants, animals and fungi that live all around us and the rocks, fossils and minerals inside the planet we walk on.