Land degradation. Soil erosion

Account for the causes of the land degradation in the third world, what can be done to address the problems?

Academic Paper, 2018

8 Pages, Grade: Tertiary

Free online reading

Land degradation takes a number of forms, including depletion of soil nutrients, salinization, agrochemical pollution, soil erosion, vegetative degradation as result of over grazing and the cutting of forest for farmland. To add on land degradation is a broad, composite and value-laden term that is complex to define that generally refers to the loss of biological and or economic production according to MOARD[1]. The question therefore require the causes and the solution in the third world to address the problem of land degradation which have caused poverty ,over dependency ,food crisis and low yield in food production. Political marginalization, poor farming method, lack of education, poor mining method, climates changes ,lack of alternatives of electricity instead of wood, over dependence on natural resources and lack of future markets. More so price policy failure also cause land degradation however in order for the third to deal with above causes, the following need to be implemented education, electric plants, good governance, strict policy known as Chikorokoza chapera, improved farming method and afforestation in order to deal land degradation.

Political marginalization is a major cause of land degradation in the third world because through this marginalisation resulted in the land being used as dependence for living resulting in poor farming methods being practised therefore leading to over cultivation. This will result in soil fertility being depleted and soil erosion being common because people will exerts pressure on the land in order to survive. For instance communal lands of South Africa especially the traditional homelands created in the apartheid years which remain politically and socio economically marginalised that the severity of soil degradation is clearly greatest in communal areas according to M.E Meadows and M.T Hoffman[2].More so this showed that the deprived will not have access to state aids and beneficial programmes therefore forced to rigorously use the land intensive which will result in mismanagement of the land therefore leading to land degradation. Ethnicity politically has caused marginalization and land degradation because those in power will benefit and leaving the other ethnic group deprived for instance Ndebele and Shona .If not handled properly this will result in civil war which will cause greater land de gradation .The government of Zimbabwe introduced the unity government to tackle the issue of marginalization which is successful because representatives will be mouth piece of each ethnic group therefore addressing the impact of political marginalization which leads to land de gradation.

More so poor farming methods in the third world has caused land degradation as result that agriculture is the major backbone of the third world economies. The lack of education and money to invest in the farming sector has resulted in much larger parts of the third world countries being either eroded, deforestation and fertile lands being diminished. Therefore one can argue that the cause of the land degradation is not poor farming methods but lack of funds from the government to improve the farming methods such that farmers will be able to fund their improved farming schemes such as irrigation and to buy fertilizers such that deforestation will be tacked and land management will possible. Government should be able create market for the produced goods since lack of market can also lead to land degradation in the third world. Land degradation is, thus a serious problem in Ethiopia and it is an important element in the poverty and backwardness of Ethiopia rural population has resulted in cultivation of the upper catchment area and steep slopes which should remain under protective cover and this has reduced food production according to M.Tsighe[3]. Therefore government should introduce irrigation schemes, fertilizers so that rural people will stop depending in large hectors as a way of raising production and clearing large areas but must adopt to use fertilisers .More so government should educate rural people on the new techniques of farming and their advantage .In addition by establishing industries in the rural areas to create employment as reduce overdependence on land.

Furthermore the price policy failures is one of the cause of the land degradation in the third world since government intervention in pricing will definitely affect output production of agriculture. Mostly this will affect the inputs and out puts of agriculture meaning that land management will not be handled properly by the farmers since they did not acquire profit from their output from agriculture and state pricing will result in farms produce being not able to have higher market since the fixed price by the government will greatly affect the production process of farmers. Heavy state intervention in pricing this will affect directly both the use of inputs according to J.P Bojo[4].This will increase poor farming method which will result in soil erosion, poor irrigation instead of using piped irrigation farmers will use trench irrigation which will flood the land and cause the removal of top soil. More so failure in pricing will results in the increase price of inputs of agriculture therefore forcing farmers to use poor farming method to feed the crops and again this will results in low yield and land degradation. Therefore government in the third world should implement open market for agriculture products such the rise of price of agriculture will enable the famers to cater for land management and improve farming technique such that farmer will be able to sponsor themselves than relying on loans.

In addition deforestation has also played a significant role in land degradation of third world countries such as Zimbabwe and Ethiopia just mention a few. The cutting of wood as fuel and clearing of forested areas for farming .This has reduced the impact of rainfall infiltration in the soil and caused soil erosion .More so the removal of trees will facilitate the growth of gullies and the removal of top grass which keeps the soil bonded together. The lack of any alternative to substitute wood as fuel in rural areas has resulted in much of the forested areas being annihilated by the poor people because they cannot manage to buy coal and solar panels .In Zimbabwe selling of fire wood is a business which is common in the outskirts of the town which has resulted in the government using E.M.A to try to deal with the wood cutters and to further arrest and prohibit selling of wood as fuel. More so the above measure in Zimbabwe proved to be success in the sense that the impact of wood cutters has been reduced therefore such measures are the ones other third world countries must enforce in order to address land degradation .More so afforestation projects needs to be undertaken in order to be able to deal with deforestation. Third world countries should construct power plants in order to be able to supply the electricity in both towns and rural populations.

More so poor mining methods in the third world countries has resulted in land degradation as much open pits and the used dynamites in mines which also resulted in a larger proportion of land being devastated such it will be beyond any use and also it cannot be mined secondly at all. This is largely cause by unemployment, poverty and unstable economic situations in the third world. Shortage food basics and inflation in Zimbabwe in 2007 and 2008 caused majority of the people to engage in mining and this resulted in large parts of the country being devastated by open pits and trees were cleared therefore meaning soil erosion and uncontrolled rates degradation has left areas which associated with minerals such as gold and diamonds being not usable .The government introduced measure such as Chikorokoza Chapera to deal with the land degradation caused by poor mining methods. This was successful because the number was reduced but therefore one argued that the number was reduced as result of the economic stability as compared from the inflation and food shortages which caused poor farming method in the country.

To add on the lack of future markets in the third world also is playing a role in the land degradation process in the sense that land issues such as ownership and tree markets are of very controversial in the third world countries. This means that investments in land protection is discouraged because of lack of defined and enforced property rights for instances in rural areas chiefs and other authorities clashes in control of land resulting in lack of land management .The introduction of the civil code ,the theoretical principle of state supremacy over forest definitively collapsed and the landlords who feared that the state might expropriate uncultivated and forested lands started to clear and distribute them to tenants according Z.Tsghe[5].This shows land conflict can cause deforestation and result in poor land management. More so on a wider view the use of land therefore will be subjected to exploitation in order for some people to benefit .To plant trees on the communal land will be risk because of thieves. This means that afforestation will be impossible and the land will be abused because of that which will result in land degradation .Therefore third world governments should be able to enforce strictly rule about land ownership and manage land properly such markets for the trees will boost therefore encouraging the afforestation of the nation. More so by conserving land resources such as trees and to compensate the land they have taken from its citizens.

More so population increase has been termed the major cause land degradation in Ethiopia and other third world developing world. The poor peasant population have been subjected to blame in the land degradation through over cultivation, deforestation, over grazing .Population growth per se need not necessarily be destructive, except when it occurs in socio-economic situations according to Z.Tsighe[6]. Therefore one can argue that population of the third world is not the major cause but the economic situation because the population of some the developed nations is high as compared to most of all the third world meaning if the economic conditions are not good this will result in land degradation caused by deforestation and over cultivation as result of the population over depending on the natural resources instead of other economic activities .The history of the Ethiopian peasant is a history of perpetual impoverishment and therein lies the root cause of degradation because peasants are subjected to exploitation ,taxation ,forced labour and persistent looting according. The third world government must then explore other forms of collecting revenues rather than exploiting peasants and to encourage industrialization in order deal with economic conditions. More so issues to do with democracy need to be addressed in order for people to be able to correct government measures which affects them.

More the effects of climate change has been causing land degradation in the third world countries. The impact of climate change will either cause more rainfall or low rainfall both result have effect on the land. Higher rainfall in third world usually cause floods which will result in loss of top soil, crop failure and much of tree cover will be affected which will result in land degradation. More so crop failure will then force people to misuse the land in order to survive such as selling firewood to the towns nearby therefore accelerating the rate of deforestation. To add on if climate change result in low rainfall it will affect the third word in the sense that there are agriculture based meaning low yield will force people to exploit the land through practising poor land management for instance hunting in rural areas sometimes setting fire in the forested areas in search of animal to sustain shortage of food. The government in the third world should invest in mechanical farming of crops such as maize and sponsor irrigation schemes in the rural areas.

All in all land degradation in the third world is a serious problem which needs strict measures such as education, stable politics that will attract investors ,and the investment of government on the farmers .To add on the afforestation programmes must be introduced and to introduce electricity as to for people to stop depending on firewood .The major cause of land degradation in the third world countries is more connected to the political economy meaning that by first stabilising politics that is when land degradation will be reduced in the sense that government tax and political marginalization will not be causing land degradation in parts of the third world since this result in land degradation. One can argue therefore that land degradation is connected with underdevelopment.


Bojo P.J, Economic and Land Degradation,Springer,,accessed 07-04-17

Meadows M.E and M.T Hoffman, The Nature, Extent and Causes of Land Degradation in South Africa: Legacy of the past, Lessons for the Future ?,Wiley,,,accessed:07-04-2017

Tsighe.Z, The Political Economy of Land degradation in Ethiopia, Michigan State University press, 41931204,accessed 07-04-17

Yimer .Z, Aspect of Land Degradation and Land Management Practices in Gawo Kebe Woreda, Kellem Wollega Zone,Oromia Region,School of Geography and Environmental Studies,M.A Thesis, Haramaya University 2015

[1] MOARD cited in Z. Yimer, Aspect of Land Degradation and Land Management Practices in Gawo Kebe Woreda, Kellem Wollega Zone,Oromia Region,School of Geography and Environmental Studies,M.A Thesis, Haramaya University 2015,P.7

[2] M.E Meadows and M.T Hoffman, The Nature, Extent and Causes of Land Degradation in South Africa: Legacy of the past, Lessons for the Future ?,Wiley,,P.430,accessed:07-04-2017

[3] Z.Tsighe, The Political Economy of Land degradation in Ethiopia, Michigan State University press, 41931204,P.72,accessed 07-04-17

[4] J.P Bojo, Economic and Land Degradation,Springer,,P.78,accessed 07-04-17

[5] Z.Tsighe, The Political Economy of Land degradation in Ethiopia, Michigan State University press, 41931204,P.73,accessed 07-04-17

[6] Z.Tsighe, The Political Economy of Land degradation in Ethiopia, Michigan State University press, 41931204,P.74,accessed 07-04-17

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Land degradation. Soil erosion
Account for the causes of the land degradation in the third world, what can be done to address the problems?
Development sudies
Catalog Number
land, soil, account
Quote paper
Farai Mushangwe (Author), 2018, Land degradation. Soil erosion, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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