Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Land Degredation in Central Asia

 The degradation of land and other natural resources contributing to agricultural production, is a serious socioeconomic and environmental problem in Central Asia. It adversely affects, among other things, food production and biodiversity. Decades of poorly managed irrigated agriculture has done considerable damage to vast areas of land in Central Asia. Scientists point out a few major types of land degradation in the region. Water and wind erosion, often linked to poor agricultural practices, plays a big role. In Uzbekistan, some 800,000 ha of the irrigated croplands are estimated to be subject to serious soil erosion. And more than 50 per cent of the farmlands are estimated to suffer from serious wind erosion. These factors contribute to soil fertility decline. Another problem is waterlogging, which is closely linked with salinisation. Both are caused by inappropriate irrigation. Recent estimates suggest that between 40 and 60 per cent of the irrigated croplands in Central Asia are salt-affected and/or waterlogged. This consequently leads to decreased plant growth and yields. Overgrazing of livestock also puts considerable pressure on rangelands, the predominant landscape in Central Asia.