Effect Of Soil Erosion On Agriculture

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Effect Of Soil Erosion On Agriculture


Abstract


Soil erosion is recognized as one of the world’s most serious environmental problems (Pimentel et al 1995, Shiferaw and Holden, 1999). Globally, about 80% of the current degradation of agricultural land is caused by soil erosion. In most developing countries, including Nigeria, human activity triggers these losses this is associated with rapid population growth, inadequate attention to the basic natural resources S.W.V (soils, water and vegetation), and the need to maximize production to meet the needs of the growing population This situation is more serious in poor developing countries like Nigeria where subsistence production predominates. Soil is one of the natural resources on Planet Earth. Though soil is a renewable natural resource, yet it can become finite, with the passage of time, through its degradation. In Nigeria soil erosion is a problem and there are several causes for this. These causes are in fact various factors as a result of which soil erosion takes place. Some of the contributing factors are certain agricultural practices of conventional agriculture and environmental problems. There is a universal acceptance that such agricultural practices degrade the soil. This study deliberate to explore the prevention of soil erosion problems and damage of the environmental component such as the effects of agricultural production and land degradation that soil erosion caused in asaba, Delta state. The main objective of this study is to know the possible cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production in asaba, delta state. And to be sought further in this study was be as follows: The aim of this thesis is to have clear understanding the cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production from the environment and the necessity to implement conservation measures in the study area. The study is carried out in asaba which is located in delta state. The study was used a descriptive co-relational design; the study also was used a cross sectional, comparative and ex-post facto designs. Descriptive in that data collected was used to describe a phenomenon; co-relational in that it was interested in relating cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production in asaba, delta state. Both soil causes and effect of soil are major drivers of land degradation and pose key problems to livelihoods of the community members in the study area. Sheet, rill and gully erosion are the main types of erosion within the study area and the latter form of erosion, namely gully erosion, is the most alarming problem removing huge quantities of soil, dissecting land and damaging infrastructure. Deterioration in soil fertility as a result of severe soil erosion is a critical deterrent to crop production and a lack of fodder has been a major factor in the decline in agricultural production production. As charcoal is the major source of energy for cooking in the study area, deforestation has seriously depleted forest resources. This has compelled community members to travel long distances and spending significant amount of time for collection of wood.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Soil erosion is recognized as one of the world’s most serious environmental problems (Pimentel et al 1995, Shiferaw and Holden, 1999). Globally, about 80% of the current degradation of agricultural land is caused by soil erosion. Erosion by water, at a global scale, is the main soil degradation process in agricultural areas It generates strong environmental impacts and major economic losses from decreased agricultural production and from off-site effects on infrastructure and water quality by sedimentation processes Soil erosion creates severe limitations to sustainable agricultural land use, as it reduces on-farm soil productivity and causes food insecurity.

In most developing countries, including Nigeria, human activity triggers these losses this is associated with rapid population growth, inadequate attention to the basic natural resources S.W.V (soils, water and vegetation), and the need to maximize production to meet the needs of the growing population This situation is more serious in poor developing countries like Nigeria where subsistence production predominates. The Asaba environment, is nowadays dependent on natural conditions and cannot tolerate further deterioration of soil productivity Increasing urbanization, intense land cultivation, uncontrolled grazing, and deforestation often lead to, or exacerbate, soil erosion These factors undermine agricultural productivity and frustrate economic development efforts, especially in developing countries where there is heavy land dependence in low external-input farming systems Nigeria has a total surface area of 137,600 sq . However, whilst soil erosion is a feature of any natural Ecosystem, the rate at which it is taking place has been significantly accelerated by anthropogenic influences.

Soil erosion in the Areas has increased markedly in recent decades the impacts of soil erosion have major implications for society from an economic, social and, environmental perspective. In terms of ecological service provision, soil performs many, ecological functions including nutrient cycling, regulating water and nutrient flows, filtering toxic compounds, providing a medium for plant roots and supporting the growth of a variety of animals and soil microorganisms by providing a diverse physical, chemical and biological habitat. As such, it is a vital natural resource and forms a key building block upon which life on earth depends. In economic terms, soil erosion inflicts significant costs on society as the ecological services we derive from soil have an economic value; as soil is eroded, the economic value we are able to derive from it is diminished. The financial implications of soil erosion do not stop here. For example, soil erosion can transmit pollutants into water which have to be removed through costly processes. Eroded soil often needs to be removed from roads, reservoirs and estuaries which again can involve considerable costs to society.

Soil is a precious natural resource and in Nigeria especially this study Area asaba there is an ever increasing awareness of the declining soil quality. To inhibit this decline, soil conservation has been given due consideration in organic farming in the asaba village.

To conserve means ‘to protect from loss and harm’. Hence soil conservation means to protect the soil from both loss and harm. ‘Soil Loss’ and ‘Soil Harm’ are two different unique terms/categories, with reference to soil degradation, that have been introduced separately (in this thesis). Soil Loss implies soil degradation that occurs naturally e.g. erosion and other factors are responsible for the loss of soil. Soil Loss can occur in the three basic dimensions of loss, i.e. physical, chemical and biological. Conversely, Soil Harm implies soil degradation that is anthropogenic in nature, i.e. induced by mankind e.g. chemicals and mechanics are responsible for the harm of the soil. Physical, chemical and biological dimensions of harm can take place in Soil Harm. With this background, organic farming practices propagate soil conservation by reducing both Soil Loss and Soil Harm.

As manifested from experience that soil harm has been pre-dominantly higher as C S L Compared to soil loss. The harm or damage to the soil caused by human induced activities is ever increasing due to factors like conventional agricultural practices, urbanization, Industrialization, increasing population, etc. Some of the problems of both soil loss and Soil harm are irreversible, e.g. soil erosion (whether it occurs naturally or as human Induced) Whereas, other problems of both soil loss and soil harm can be dealt with and Improved with specialized tactics and measures, e.g. soil leaching can be improved with crop rotations of legumes and catch crops; soil contamination can be alleviated with remediation procedures; etc.

Here the soil management practices play a vital role in the Soil conservation.

The pressure on arable land is growing and this forces people to convert more marginal, available forest and grazing lands to arable lands. Hence, forest resources are very few and continuously decreasing both in quantity and quality. These results in firewood shortage and people are forced to use animal dung as a fuel wood substitute. The major source of organic matter is thus not brought back to the soil but used further purposes. Soil erosion is the most significant ecological restriction to sustainable agricultural production, mainly under subsistence agricultural production system like west of Delta state including this Area asaba.

Soil Erosion and Conservation Practices in asaba, particularly boqo ljire , Nigeria call for immediate action to reverse soil erosion. Hence, to protect soil resources from erosion different remedial action should be taken with the help of soil conservation mechanisms to sustain the productivity of the land. This study was conducted in asaba (west of flat land of Delta state). The district, as one part of productive region, In Delta state it is affected by land degradation particularly soil erosion. Farmers’ perception and attitudes towards soil erosion and conservation practices is decisive in protecting soil losses from erosion. Hence, farmers’ perception of soil erosion is a key social factor that is also important in deciding options for controlling soil losses However, for many years, soil conservation programs in Nigeria were premised on the notion that farmers did not perceive erosion and had little or no interest in combating it Most soil conservation planning approaches rely on empirical assessment methods by experts and hardly consider farmers knowledge of soil erosion. As a result, conservation programs and approaches performed poorly in asaba specially asaba both traditional and modern methods of soil conservation are used by local farmers with different proportions. For selecting and implementing appropriate conservation methods, it is important to identify constraints that affect farmers to adopt or apply both traditional and modern soil conservation methods and their farming practices. Therefore, this present study was designed to assess farmers’ perception about soil erosion and conservation practices in Asaba, North-western Delta state. A review of the relevant literature points to the fact that number of empirical studies have been undertaken on perception of farmers on soil erosion and conservation practices, the existing soil conservation practices adopted by farmers on their farms and pasture lands and the socio-economic, bio-physical, policy and institutional related constraints influencing farmers’ perceptions to implement different soil conservation practices in the Nigeria context. However, nearly all of them have been addressing issues of adoption in relation to improved production technologies. Available evidence shows that studies on the determinants of adoption of soil conservation measures are few and far between. Therefore, this study was conducted in view of bridging this gap. The objectives of this study were to assess how farmers’ perceive soil erosion problems and the causes that trigger soil erosion problems, identify the existing soil conservation practices adopted by farmers on their farms and pasture lands and examine the socio-economic, bio-physical, policy and institutional related constraints influencing farmers’ perceptions to implement different soil conservation practices (TT Belay 2014). Pertaining from agricultural production to the environment.
Organic agriculture aims at creating an environmentally sustainable form of farming which emphasizes on a self-sustaining biological system rather than providing external inputs. That is why such a system is termed as a low-input farming system. The crux of organic farming and its management practices is its approach to finding solutions to agricultural problems keeping in view environmental protection. This approach is antagonistic to the approach of conventional farming. Organic farming addresses problems in a preventive manner, which relies on long-term solutions, giving due regard to nature and our environment. For example, crop rotations are designed for nutrient cycling, integrated pest management is applied for the prevention of pests, reduced tillage is carried out for soil conservation. has a reactive approach to the problems and relies on short-term solutions, e.g., application of chemical pesticides and inorganic artificial fertilizers(ASIF KHAN KHATTAK 2008).

The basic ideology of organic agriculture differs from conventional agriculture. At the practical level, the difference is that organic agriculture must live up to the Expectations and aims of taking special regard to the environment and nature as a whole. This further leads to the concept of environmental sustainability.

The periphery of organic farming is not only restricted to agricultural production but it has a holistic approach. Due to this approach, organic farming is considered as a highly relevant tool that has the potential to contribute in finding solutions simultaneously to a range of problems However, the fact remains the same that soil erosion carried the main responsibility for the acute environmental degradation that Nigeria experienced throughout the 1960s and 1970s.


1.2 Problem Statement

Soil is one of the natural resources on Planet Earth. Though soil is a renewable natural resource, yet it can become finite, with the passage of time, through its degradation. In Nigeria soil erosion is a problem and there are several causes for this. These causes are in fact various factors as a result of which soil erosion takes place. Some of the contributing factors are certain agricultural practices of conventional agriculture and environmental problems. There is a universal acceptance that such agricultural practices degrade the soil.

In Nigeria, the issue of soil degradation ranges from erosion and contamination of the topsoil to contamination of ground water. Soil degradation is an issue of growing concern in the public.

In Nigeria, the excessive use of synthetic chemicals and mechanical methods (not too much) in conventional agriculture has degraded the soil and their increased use is against soil sustainability in the country. This ultimately goes against the development of overall Sustainable Agriculture. E.g. the increase of nitrates and other synthetic chemicals can find their way into the food chain that ultimately affects the human health as well as other Living organisms. The presence of these chemicals in the soil may hamper the soil quality itself through soil pollution, which affects the soil sustainability. These synthetic chemicals are also hazardous to other environmental components (e.g. water).Hence there is a need to conserve the soil and avoid its degradation in order for soil to contribute in the long term development of sustainable agriculture of the country. The threats associated with consequences of soil Erosion similar to the threats of other long-term environmental problems like global warming and loss of biodiversity. Since these issues are given excessive publicity and coverage, the public are well aware of the global warming problem. Unlike the global warming problem, the Public is, generally, not aware of the seriousness of the soil Erosion problem.

This short thesis focuses on soil erosion in Nigeria specially maroodijeex region in Ibrahim koodbuur district, where, in common with many Regions across Africa, the negative impacts of degraded soils and inappropriate land Management have become increasingly apparent, particularly since the early 1990’s.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study deliberate to explore the prevention of soil erosion problems and damage of the environmental component such as the effects of agricultural production and land degradation that soil erosion caused in asaba, Delta state Further, this study was identified the strengths and weaknesses/gaps in the soil erosion in the environment.


1.4 Research Objectives

1.4.1 General:

The main objective of this study is to know the possible cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production in Asaba, delta state.

1.4.2 Specific:

The aim of this thesis is to have clear understanding the cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production from the environment and the necessity to implement conservation measures in the study area.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To identify soil erosion process in the study area.
  2. To study and understand how soil Erosion is reduced/prevented through organic agriculture in Nigeria specially this research Area asaba
  3. To determine the levels of cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production in asaba delta state
  4. To determine the level of environmental damage that soil erosion caused in Asaba delta state, Nigeria.

1.5 Research Questions

This study was sought to answer the following research questions:

  1. To identify soil erosion process in the study area?
  2. To study and understand how soil Erosion is reduced/prevented through?
  3. What were the demographic characteristics of the respondents as to:
    • Gender?
    • Age?
  4. To determine the levels of cause and effect of soil erosion on agricultural production in asaba delta state

1.6 Scope

The study is carried out in Asaba which is located in delta state. This study estimated to take four months that is running from April 2015 up to July 2015. It is mainly to give the researcher ample time to conduct the study.


1.7 Significance of the Study

The following disciplines will benefit from the findings of the study.

The farm owners will recognize the soil erosion can have long term effect of their production and will use the way they can prevent soil erosion to make their proclivity good

The Ministry of agriculture and also ministry of environment will use the findings as empirical information to encourage the conservation of the environment and to become the Agriculture production sustain

The future researchers will utilize the findings of this study to embark on a related study


1.8 Key Terms:

Soil Erosion:

Is the action of exogamic processes (such as water flow or wind) which remove soil and rock from one location on the Earth’s crust, then transport it to another location where it is deposited.

Industrialization:

The process in which a society or country (or world) transforms itself from a primarily agricultural society into one based on the manufacturing of goods and services. Conservation: is the protection of soil from erosion and other types of deterioration, so as to maintain soil fertility and productivity. It generally includes watershed management and water use.

Environmental Sustainability:

A state in which the demands placed on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future. Renewable resource: is an organic natural resource which can replenish to overcome usage and consumption, either through biological reproduction or other naturally recurring processes.

Non-Renewable Resource:

A resource of economic value that cannot be readily replaced by natural means on a level equal to its consumption. Most fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal are considered non-renewable resources in that their use is not sustainable because their formation takes billions of years.

Urbanization:

When populations of people grow, the population of a place may spill over from city to nearby areas.
Soil loss: Removal of topsoil faster than the soil forming processes can replace it, due to natural, animal, and human activity.

Vegetation:

Plants considered collectively, especially those found in a particular area or habitat.

Ecology:

The political movement concerned with protection of the environment.


Chapter Five


Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1. Conclusions

Both soil causes and effect of soil are major drivers of land degradation and pose key problems to livelihoods of the community members in the study area. Sheet, rill and gully erosion are the main types of erosion within the study area and the latter form of erosion, namely gully erosion, is the most alarming problem removing huge quantities of soil, dissecting land and damaging infrastructure.

Deterioration in soil fertility as a result of severe soil erosion is a critical deterrent to crop production and a lack of fodder has been a major factor in the decline in agricultural production production. As charcoal is the major source of energy for cooking in the study area, deforestation has seriously depleted forest resources. This has compelled community members to travel long distances and spending significant amount of time for collection of wood.

As alternative sources of energy, the community members burn cow dung and crop residues, both leading to degrading soil as the application of compost and nutrient recycling has been adversely affected exacerbating the problem of crop failure and dwindling land productivity. The negative effects of both soil erosion and deforestation on the livelihoods of community are well understood by the households. The existing attempt implemented to combat the problems of soil erosion has helped when a comparison is made between a situation as it was and the results achieved so far.

When asked about observation of change in soil fertility, the majority of the respondents indicated that they had observed medium in fertility (68%) and a significant reduction in production over time.

When we asked the Chemical fertilizers have been used over the last 20 years with an increase in the quantity used over time as a result of decline in soil fertility.73% responded No


5.2. Recommendation

  1. Due to the heavy problem of soil erosion into the Environment, as we discuss chapter four we suggest to control factors the can cause soil erosion such as water wind and human activates
  2. Training for local people in asaba to get ability to prevent problems of soil erosion which have an advice effect on their farmers and also their animal production
  3. The local municipality must interfere This problem specially place like dry river in Delta state Which is part of the study area that are tract (iskarogooyinka) tack to the white soil in rain seasons for building purpose The rive is one of the main place the soil erosion occurred
  4. It most forced those tract to top using the river of asaba because new this area become urban and local municipality assign those causes the problem and other place which away from the urban
  5. Awareness should be created at all levels on the negative effects of soil erosion on the environment, The rate of soil erosion should be quantified
  6. Alternative energy sources should be considered and information disseminated at grass roots level to protect the remaining forests.

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