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LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. compaction and also accelerated runoff and erosion on hill slopes and in watercourses. In other contexts the interventions involve the mitigation of wind erosion and pollution. especially by salts or industrial wastes or military ordinance The success of a land. rehabilitation strategy if it is not expressed in economic terms is evaluated in the same. terms as progress in ecological succession commonly the integration efficiency and. resiliency of the geo ecological system, Rehabilitation treatments divide between those that treat the problems in the soil. usually by changes in land management and those that treat the consequences of soil. degradation usually by engineering In every case since the fundamental causes of the. land degradation are the social and economic processes that drive human societies to. abuse the land the long term success of any land rehabilitation intervention depends. upon the changes in land management,1 Introduction. This section describes the ideas strategies and methods currently employed for the. rehabilitation of land that has become damaged by human actions Many human. activities cause land to become degraded to the point where it becomes unproductive or. a negative factor in environmental quality Across large parts of the world human. action has degraded the landscape to a condition where its productive potential is much. less than in former times at least allegedly These include the eroded ravine lands of. China India and Pakistan the barrens of the Mediterranean Basin central Asia and the. There are large areas damaged by soil salinization following misconceived irrigation. soil erosion following agriculture or deforestation and tracts damaged by military. mining and construction activities especially surface mining and road construction In. some cases the environment has been transformed to such an extent that recovery is. unlikely to become a viable option In others there is a real potential for these damaged. lands to be recycled to new uses or rehabilitated for nature These processes both. natural and technological that involve variously aspects of both ecology and. engineering are the focus for the notes that follow. 2 The Problem Land Degradation, The driving force for land rehabilitation is land degradation Land degradation is a. composite term indicating the aggregate diminution of the productive potential of the. land including its major uses rain fed arable irrigated rangeland forestry its farming. systems e g smallholder subsistence and its value as an economic resource This term. which includes the subset of desertification refers to the decline of the biological. productive potential of land namely the entire geo ecological system that includes soils. waters climate vegetation topography and land use, Land degradation may be an inherent property of the natural system e g some of the. eroded ravine lands of South Asia may be due to tectonic uplift generated channel. incision In other cases climatic change may be implicated More usually land. degradation is caused by a mismatch between the land s self sustainable biological. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh.
potential its quality in human terms and the way the land is used Simply the way the. land is used causes more damage to the land than its restorative systems can. compensate This chapter deals with the physical and technical processes of land. rehabilitation but both land degradation and rehabilitation are driven by social and. economic causes Ultimately land degradation and land rehabilitation are human. processes that reflect the ways in which human societies use and value the land that. feeds them, Environmentalists occasionally protest that land degradation is irreversible However. this chapter is devoted to the belief that most degraded lands can heal and indeed will. heal themselves given sufficient time and the appropriate circumstances It includes the. belief that land degradation can be mitigated with the help of human intervention but. also that most land degradation is preventable and that prevention is much better than. any cure that rehabilitation work may aspire to provide. However the physical cause of land degradation is commonly a reduction in soil quality. that fosters runoff and erosion ahead of soil formation and which reduces the biological. productivity of affected lands Soil degradation is a process that lowers the current. and or future capacity of the soils to produce goods or services Soil degradation can be. mitigated if land is left for sufficiently long periods in fallow which enables. biological restoration of soil characteristics that have become degraded notably its. porosity and nutrient content During this recuperation phase biological processes can. return the soil to a good condition for the growth of plant roots However land. shortages are now reducing the time that land can be allowed to remain in fallow with. the result that the rate of degradation and loss of underlying productive potential during. the cropping period increases,2 1 Extent of Land Degradation. The question that arises however is how much of the land in the world is degraded and. how much suitable for land rehabilitation treatment The truth is that it is impossible to. know Produced during the late 1980s GLASOD was the first systematic attempt to. produce a global overview of soil and land degradation but since there is insufficient. data for all but a tiny fraction of the earth s surface much had to be based of guesswork. and estimation Nevertheless GLASOD s World Map of the Status of Human Induced. Land Degradation the second edition of which was published by ISRIC and UNEP in. Wageningen in 1991 by Oldeman and colleagues provides a benchmark GLASOD. suggests that the globally land degradation affects about 15 of the world s dry land. surface and 22 of its agricultural land base and 70 of the world s dry land areas. Water erosion is the primary cause The area where degradation is rated strong or. extreme where land rehabilitation is an issue sums to around 3 050 m ha Water. erosion is the main reason on 73 of this land and wind erosion on 8 5 Human. induced chemical soil degradation mainly due to salinization and pollution is thought to. affect more than 12 of the total degraded land area and 15 of that requiring. rehabilitation, Land use category Total area Area affected by land. million hectares degradation per cent,Total land area 13 000 15. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh.
Total agricultural area 8 735 22,Total area of degraded land 1 965 100 from which. Degraded by water erosion 1 094 56,Degraded by wind erosion 549 28. Degraded by soil structural 83 3 4,Degraded soil fertility 135 3 7. chemical degradation,Salinisation 76 3 4,Soil pollution inclusive of 21 8 1. industrial,Acidification 5 7 0,Table 1 Estimated extent of land degradation.
After loss of vegetative cover soil compaction is often named as the major cause for. land degradation by water erosion because small changes in the soils architecture can. result in large scale changes in a soil s ability to absorb potentially erosive rainwater. Soil physical damage is an increasingly serious problem for agriculture However soil. and subsoil compaction is difficult to estimate and official GLASOD estimates could be. a huge under estimation of the problem, Recent years have seen a 3 4 fold increase in both the size of farm machinery and the. frequency of trafficking across agricultural lands This has placed more loading and. more stress on their soils both surface and subsurface Studies undertaken in Scotland. suggest that as much as 90 of cultivated arable land can suffer trafficking by heavy. vehicles during an annual cycle of cultivation and although reworking of the soil. surface mitigates much of the compaction so caused damage to the subsoil layer. persists The consequences of soil structural damage include reduced agricultural. production and accelerated runoff and erosion from affected lands. Before GLASOD earlier estimates suggested that worldwide perhaps 12 x 106 ha of. degraded arable land is abandoned annually due to unsustainable farming practices In. 1984 Brown and Wolf wrote an influential pamphlet called Soil Erosion the Quiet. Crisis in the World Economy for Washington s World Watch Institute Here they. estimated that the world was losing around 28 bn t 25 400 million tons of soil in. excess of soil formation from its 1270 m ha of cropland Allowing each acre. approximately 180 mm of topsoil this suggested a decade loss rate of 7 which if true. would have eliminated half the world s productive topsoil before 2025 The mining. away of the world s productive topsoil was called the quiet crisis because the changes. involved may be imperceptibly tiny in the context of each annual agricultural cycle but. cumulatively disastrous measured across several decades. Today it has been suggested that on the global scale the loss of 75 bn t of topsoil to. erosion each year represents a cost to each person on the planet the equivalent of 70. each year in lost production Yield reduction in Africa due to past erosion is estimated. as 8 overall Many writers contest the link between erosion and yield reduction and. soil loss noting that biological productivity depends more on the quality of the soil that. remains in the field than that lost in erosion Nevertheless the fact remains that the. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. topsoils which are lost to erosion or damaged by physical or soil chemical degradation. rank with the most productive and the most critical to people that depend on them for. their livelihoods Topsoil damaging processes create the lands that demand. rehabilitation treatment, 2 2 Estimates of Areas needing Rehabilitation Treatment. The term degraded land contains an implicit value judgment Some land has been in a. degraded state for so long that the condition is now considered natural and normal as. in most of Western Europe and on the shores of the Mediterranean much of which is. technically deforested Sometimes land degradation goes undetected because its. symptoms are hard to see as in the case of subsoil compaction and many forms of. chemical and biological pollution The trickiest issue is that most land that has been. used by humans is degraded from its original condition However application of the. term degraded involves a qualitative assessment that the land is sufficiently damaged. to warrant being recognized as a human concern Normally degraded land is recognized. because it is considered either wasteland or wasted land or occasionally land that is. rapidly wasting away from productive value, Of course collecting reliable information on either soil or land degradation at the. national let alone global scale is a near impossible task So the inevitable conclusion. must be that these estimates reduce either to educated guesswork or to political. propaganda on the part of their authors However arguably even these data are better. than nothing,Total Area 3 050 million hectares 100.
Water Erosion 73,Wind Erosion 9,Soil chemical degradation 14. Soil physical degradation 4, Table 2 Estimated extent of land area requiring rehabilitation treatment. 3 Sustainability Concepts in Land Rehabilitation, There are aspects of land rehabilitation that affect every project First there is the. decision concerning the nature of the after use Will the land be restored to nature or to. human utilization, If the land is to be restored to nature then the focus of the project becomes the. establishment of biological control of the environment This means the generation of an. autonomous self sustaining geo ecological system Here the key indicators of success. include the vitality productivity and resilience of the system Often measured are the. system s capacity to recycle organic and mineral components and its capacity to effect. self catalyzing environmental improvement which is often manifested through the. normal patterns of ecological succession, If however the rehabilitation is to human use then the key criteria become the.
Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. sustainability of that after use This is measured in terms of the cost and benefits of. maintaining environmental quality and the capacity of the local land management to. preserve or enhance the productive quality of the land howsoever defined. In reality this creates a huge problem A major proportion of land reclaimed or. rehabilitated for human use does not remain in a good quality condition One common. reason is that the land users do not have the will the skill or perhaps the resources to. sustain its quality This is as much a problem for the reclaimed coalmine lands of. Europe as it is for the agricultural lands in the developing world For example between. 1969 and 1990 the Government of India invested around Rs16 billion in soil and water. conservation Evaluating the result the Planning Commission s SWC Working Group. agreed that land users had neither willingly adopted conservation measures nor maintained. those installed for them, Of course these two circumstances restoration to nature or reclamation for human use. are not absolutes but represent two ends of a spectrum Many land rehabilitation. schemes aim to incorporate both aspects of natural self sustainability and sustainable. human intervention usually to preserve some aspect of the land that is favorable to. human needs The classic case of this is the ancient technology of long rotation forest. fallow agriculture better known to many as shifting cultivation slash and burn. agriculture and taungya or jhum in Asia This system uses trees as bio accumulators. and soil restoration agents Several traditional systems are based on a two to three year. cycle of cultivation In the first the land is cleared by cutting down forest and burning. The burn destroys pests weeds and diseases and it liberates nutrients that the forest had. fixed from the atmosphere and mined from the subsoil Crops planted into the ash. thrive using this store of nutrients which is often sufficient to sustain cultivation for two. to three years and occasionally more During this period declining soil fertility and. increasing competition from weed and pests cause crop yields to decline Ultimately. cultivation ceases possibly after some useful trees are set into the land The forest is. allowed to reclaim the soil Traditionally the soil was fallowed under forest for perhaps. 20 30 years but in present circumstances it is often returned to crop cultivation. within a decade,4 Soil Rehabilitation, The soil is a key component in land rehabilitation The soil controls what grows on the. land and it determines what proportion of the rainfall that falls on the land infiltrates. into the soil runs off as surface or near surface flow remains stored at the surface in. ponds or in the soil attached to the soil particles and how much is returned to the. atmosphere through evaporation evapo transpiration Directly or indirectly through the. vegetative cover the soil also regulates the rate at which soil is removed by water or. wind erosion, Soil is a living resource it is a living ecosystem complex dynamic evolving biologically. modulated open system A soil that contains no life is not truly soil it is regolith if it. forms in place through physical and chemical weathering or sediment if it is moved to. another location Civil Engineers may use the word soil to describe any deposit that is. not a rock but most other soil sciences include life in their definition. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh.
The soil is defined as a biotic construct favoring net primary productivity It is where. the crucial links in most land based biogeochemical cycles churn Soil biological. processes organize nutrient supply chemical buffering soil density porosity aeration. and water holding capacity They affect soil structural stabilization detoxification and. soil self creation Soil biology controls the quality of that soil and in general it makes the. soil a better place for living things This is why in land rehabilitation the central emphasis. rests on the condition and vitality of the soil Researchers recognize three key areas where. improved understanding may help preserve that vitality These are identification of those. soil qualities that abet particular soil uses that affect soil resilience in terms of the critical. limits that define tolerance to particular types of usage and that affect soil recoverability in. terms of the ease with which it may be rehabilitated after degradation. Soils develop in a range of characteristic morphologies as the result of the vertical and. horizontal movements of organisms organic materials water chemicals and soil particles. The self creation and evolution of natural soils is conditioned by six factors. biological processes the activities of organisms that grow on and in the soil. together with the chemical impacts of their secretions and waste products. geological conditions which through weathering determine the character. availability and amount of the material from which the soil skeleton is created. geomorphological and hydrological processes determined by the position of the. soil in the landscape system which affect the amount of erosion drainage or. deposition it has experienced, climatic and microclimatic processes that control the activities of the soil biological. system and that encourage physical processes through wetting drying freeze thaw. and the potential for erosion by wind rain splash and runoff. time which determines how long all these factors have had to act and which may. allow the soil relict features created by environmental conditions in the past. human impacts because most soils have been altered by land use In many cases. these human soil disturbing activities including cultivation forest farming and. grazing have been sustained for many decades or centuries Most of the soils that. are found on land scheduled for rehabilitation have been damaged by inappropriate. land use poor land husbandry, Frequently the solution to their problems and by extension that of land degradation is. simply to change the way they are managed One new direction in soil conservation. thinking propounded by the Better Land Husbandry movement works on techniques. that seek to prevent and reverse land degradation by improving the way the soil is. treated These strategies at a technical level focus on improving the quality of the soil. by improving its biological protection and structure and at a socio economic level by. treating the socio economic problems that encourage or force land users to permit land. 5 Soil Qualities to be Addressed in Land Rehabilitation. Seven soil quality factors may be tackled during land rehabilitation many of them are. detailed by Shaxson s New Concepts and Approaches to Land Management in the. Tropics FAO 1999 These are the rate of soil formation bio productivity soil. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. fertility rainwater infiltration plant available soil moisture evaporative losses from. the soil soil rooting zone and soil chemical toxicity. 5 1 Enhance Soil Depth, Land rehabilitation requires the presence of a self sustaining soil which means that. there should be a positive balance between soil creation and soil losses to erosion This. can be achieved in two ways either by reducing the rate of soil removal by erosion the. traditional soil conservation approach or by enhancing soil formation Geo. physiologists emphasize the role of organic acids in accelerating the weathering of. bedrock as plants mine for the minerals they need and in the process accelerating soil. formation Recently there has been much success using Mucuna beans to regenerate. soils in tropical steep lands Mucuna is capable of generating 100 t ha of green manure. each year and has been used to rehabilitate lands that were almost devoid of cultivatable. soil However increasing effective soil depth can be achieved in many ways besides the. incorporation of organic matter Changes in land management that reduce soil compaction. or that lead to a reduction in soil packing density also enhance effective soil depth. Planting aggressively deep rooting crops or using subsoil tillage to break up compacted. layers that impede root growth has the same effect. Alternatively soil depth can be changed by the physical collection of soils as during the. creation of agricultural terraces by cut and fill from hillsides In industrial land. reclamation many sites are veneered with topsoil imported from other sites The. agricultural equivalent is to create a site such as a check dam which collects the soil. mobilized by erosion and converts it into a flat depositional terrace that can be cultivated. In Asia farmers of loess land ravine bottoms run ploughs against the ravine s steep walls. so bringing down new soil onto their fields,TO ACCESS ALL THE 27 PAGES OF THIS CHAPTER.
Visit http www eolss net Eolss sampleAllChapter aspx. Bibliography, Agassi M ed 1996 Soil Erosion Conservation and Rehabilitation Marcel Dekker New York A. valuable collection of review papers including sections on erosion and soil management soil stabilisers gully. reclamation and the reclamation of sodic soils, Anwar C M 1986 Management of Gully Eroded Areas in Pothwar Pakistan Agricultural Research. Council Islamabad This sets out the contexts for the ravine reclamation work in Pakistan which provides. the case study used by this paper, Bridges E M Hannam I D Oldeman L R Penning de Vries F W T Scherr S and S Sombatpanit eds. 2001 Response to Land Degradation Science Publishers Inc Enfield NH 507p This is the latest. overview of the land degradation problem and a valuable compendium of case studies that detail current. research and practice in land rehabilitation,Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS. LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. Brown L and E C Wolf 1984 Soil Erosion Quiet Crisis In The World Economy Worldwatch Institute. Washington Paper 60 49p In its day this was a very influential report that much influenced the. thinking about erosion control and land rehabilitation amongst environmentalists and the soil. conservation professionals, Gray D H and A T Leiser 1982 Biotechnical Slope Protection and Erosion Control Van Nostrand.
Reinhold New York This was a pioneering work on bio engineering and its thinking much influences those. engaged in land rehabilitation engineering, Goldman S J Jackson K and T A Bursztynsky 1986 Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook McGraw. Hill New York This is a classic and valuable handbook on erosion and sediment control techniques and. Haigh M J ed 2000 Reclaimed Land Erosion Control Ecology and Soils Series Land. Reconstruction and Management 1 Balkema Swets and Zeitlinger Rotterdam 465p This compendium. expands the thinking of this paper but in the context of the self sustainable reclamation of surface coal. lands Contributors have provided chapters on landform design forestation hydrological management. torrent control and stewardship of artificial soils. Horn R van den Akker J J H and E Arvidsson eds 2000 Subsoil Compaction Distribution. Processes and Consequences Series Advances in Geo ecology 32 Catena Verlag Reiskirchen 462p. An uneven but pioneering compendium of papers devoted to this neglected but critically important. aspect of land degradation and its mitigation, Moldenhauer W and N W Hudson eds 1988 Conservation Farming on Steep Lands World Assoc Soil. and Water Conservation Soil and Water Conservation Society Ankeny Iowa This deals with the wider. problems of land management and rehabilitation in tropical and subtropical steep land regions. Oldeman L R Hakkeling R T A and W G Sombroek 1991 World Map of the Status of Human. Induced Land Degradation 2nd ed ISRIC UNEP Wageningen The primary source for state of. knowledge information on the location and extent of the lands that need land rehabilitation treatment. Roose E Chebbani R and L Bourougaa 1999 Ravinement en Alg rie Quantification et. R habilitation Bulletin R seau Erosion 19 122 138 Provided data on the example shown in this. Schwab G O Elliot W Fangmeier D and R K Frevert 1993 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering. 4th ed Wiley International New York The standard textbook on the techniques of soil and water. conservation engineering In Europe it is sometimes replaced by Hudson N W 1995 Soil Conservation. 3th ed Batsford Eds London In South Asia there is a fine more wide ranging and low cost volume that. covers similar material which is Suresh R 2001 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering 3th ed. Standard Publishers Delhi, Shaxson T F 1999 New Concepts and Approaches to Land Management in the Tropics with Emphasis. on Steeplands Soils Bull 75 FAO Rome 125 p Francis Shaxson is the intellectual leader of the Better. Land Husbandry Movement which promotes the geo ecological notions that are contained by this paper. This book broadens out discussion from the look after the soil and the land will look after and. rehabilitate itself message promoted in this contribution. Journals and Magazines, Land Degradation and Development This expensive professional journal carries case studies from many of. the key researchers and commentators in this field. Erosion Control This magazine features review articles and case studies amidst much material oriented to the. erosion control industry mainly in the USA Some recent useful review papers have tackled turf erosion. control at the watershed scale and soil stimulants and amendments It is also freely available on the internet. Proceedings of the International Erosion Control Association Valuable for case study notes However much. less readily available, Bulletin Reseau Erosion Edited by ORSTOM Montpellier France is a major source of research case.
study and policy information on soil and water conservation and also land rehabilitation work principally. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS, LAND USE LAND COVER AND SOIL SCIENCES VOL IV Land Rehabilitation Martin J Haigh. Biographical Sketch, Martin Haigh is Vice President Europe for the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation and. Professor of Physical Geography at Oxford Brookes University the New University in Oxford England. Professor Haigh s research and teaching focuses on the reconstruction of lands that have been damaged by. human actions especially surface mining road construction deforestation and agricultural extension. particularly in the headwater regions of Europe South Asia and most recently Central America Recent. books include Reclaimed Land Erosion Control Ecology and Soils 2000 Balkema and Environmental. Regeneration in Headwaters 2000 Kluwer NATO produced with J Krecek for the International. Association for Headwater Control,Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS.

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