'land Degredation Is An Insidious Disease And Is Threatening To Kill Australia' Includes Website Bibliography

950 words - 4 pages

Land degradation is any change in the land that reduces its existing or potential productivity. It occurs whenever the natural balances in the landscape are changed by human activity, through misuse or overuse. It can also be the result of using land and other resources beyond their capability.Unfortunately, Australia is greatly under threat by land degradation, which is sadly putting holes in our beautiful environment as well as our pockets. These holes are quite large when it comes to our economy's wallet. Well over $600 million a year is lost in production alone. Major and immediate action needs to be taken to sustain our land. If not done soon, we will lose our crops, farming grounds, forests and more. There are many reasons and causes for the degradation. Some of the problems have occurred due to natural causes while others have been brought about or sped up by human activity.Half the major forests and about 35% of Australian woodlands have been cleared or severely modified. Soil structure, salinity acidification, soil structure decline and water logging now affect a significant proportion of the land used for agriculture, while much of our cropping land has been pulverised into submission.Most forms of land degradation are processes accelerated by human activity. For example, it is estimated that soil erosion in some of the important agricultural regions of Australia are up to 50 times the natural rate.One major problem that has occurred over the years is the development of a blue green algae that formed 1,000km from Mungindi to Wilcannia. This algal bloom was the largest ever recorded on any river in the world. Also, 2 years ago, a popular dam near Brisbane was closed of to the public due to a blue green algal toxin. The Chaffey Dam in northwestern N.S.W has been plagued with a blue green algae bloom for the past 4 years. With blue green algae toxin at its worst, 10 times more poisonous than strychnine and recent research indicating that sublethal doses of the toxin causes cancer in experimental rodents, it is little wonder that water quality is seen by the Australian public as the highest priority issue on the environmental agenda.No form of land degradation can be regarded as unimportant A number now regarded as very serious were barely recognised only a few years ago.Of particular concern is the fact that many of the degradation problems stem from an inadequate or totally absent vegetation cover. Nowhere is this more evident than with soil erosion by wind and water, which provides some of the most visible examples of land degradation. Though some of the more obvious forms, such as gullies and landslides, are not necessarily the most serious. Far more significant, especially in terms of the impact on land productivity, is the stripping of topsoil by wind and rain. There are times when such losses can be barely visible, but the biggest ones occur in severe events, the occasional torrential rains and severe wind storms.In Victoria, an...

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