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Soil degradation is a threat that most of us do not think about daily. But the truth is, it’s happening everywhere. According to an FAO report, up to 90% of the world’s soils could be degraded by 2050. Keep in mind that soil is a finite resource that will never be replaced.

We all need to take steps now to protect this valuable resource for future generations, and the first step is being aware of soil quality issues. There are various types of degradation caused by natural forces, including:

Wind Erosion

The wind is a powerful force of nature. It can cause soil to lose its structure, making it more vulnerable to being carried off by the wind and deposited somewhere else entirely.

This is a major issue in dry areas where there is little plant cover or vegetation for protection from the wind, such as the great plains region of North America. As such, wind erosion is a major cause of increasing desertification.

Dust storms cause problems for humans because of the health implications, but it also causes problems for other living things such as animal and plant life.

Everyone can do a few things to stop or slow down this erosion, such as planting trees or other vegetation types in exposed areas.

Water Erosion

The wind isn’t the only force that can cause erosion. Water is another major factor in soil degradation. When water seeps into areas where there are cracks or holes due to poor soil structure, it can carry off the soil.

This is a major issue in areas where there are heavy rains or flooding seasonally. Other risks include snowmelt and poor irrigation practices.

There are five major types of water erosion. These include:

I. Splash erosion

II. Sheet erosion

III. Rill erosion

IV. Gully erosion

V. Tunnel erosion

All these cause undesirable results in different ways, but the truth is it all comes down to a loss of productive soil.

The best way to limit water erosion is by taking steps such as protecting the soil with vegetation and other plant life or terracing the land around your property to slow down flooding and runoff.

Soil Salinization

Salinization refers to the accumulation of water-soluble salts in the soil. These salts include but aren’t limited to:

· bicarbonates

· sulfates

· chlorides

· calcium

· potassium

· magnesium

Rising soil content is a serious threat, with about 190 million acres already lost. Soil salinization occurs through causes such as

  • Irrigation with saltwater
  • Poor soil drainage
  • Penetration of subsurface deposits into underground water
  • Applying fertilizer inappropriately or excessively
  • Rising sea levels that deposit saltwater on land

This is an issue that most people are familiar with, particularly if they live near coastal regions with high water salinity or areas where irrigation practices have caused problems for surrounding flora and fauna due to too much salt.

When the soil’s salt content rises above what the plants can tolerate, it kills or damages them. This is because a high salt content greatly hampers water uptake, vital for plant growth and survival.

Landowners can prevent soil salinization through these measures:

· Limiting saltwater use for irrigation

· Avoiding deep tilling that could introduce salt deposits to the surface

· Mulching farmland to preserve the surface

· Growing salt-tolerant plants

· Using appropriate fertilizers to prevent accumulation


While lack of water remains a major threat to soil quality, too much water is just as bad. This is referred to as waterlogging, and it occurs when there’s a buildup of excess surface or groundwater that can’t drain away.

This commonly happens in low-lying areas where the groundwater table has risen because of heavy rainfall or poor drainage practices that have led to poor water absorption.

Soil with too much water content is ideal for harmful bacteria to grow, which can cause disease in humans and animals alike. It also lacks the oxygen needed by plant roots, making it difficult for them to absorb nutrients from the ground.

Preventing waterlogging involves being aware of the risk in your area and taking measures to prevent it from happening. These include:

· Planting vegetation in exposed areas to prevent flooding from occurring

· Planting deep-rooted grasses to help absorb excess groundwater

· Installing drainage systems on your property to prevent flooding.

Declining Soil Fertility

Poor soil fertility is another problem that stems from soil degradation. This occurs when the nutrients in the soil are used up, which means it can no longer support plant growth or food production.

The primary culprit for this issue is poor land management practices that focus on only immediate benefits without taking long-term effects into consideration.

Soil depletion occurs through processes such as:

· Deep tilling and plowing that destroy valuable soil layers, preventing the nutrients they contain from being absorbed by plants.

· Unsustainable farming practices such as monocropping or overgrazing that promote erosion of valuable topsoil

· Excessive use of chemical fertilizers without considering the long-term effects

How to Keep Your Land Fertile

Protecting the fertility of your land involves taking steps such as:

· Using sustainable farming methods that do not lead to nutrient depletion, including crop rotation or cover cropping

· Avoiding deep tilling unless necessary to prevent soil erosion

· Using organic fertilizers that replenish the nutrients lost through farming practices

· Using natural methods to manage pests instead of chemical fertilizers.

· Maintaining good drainage systems on your property, which will prevent waterlogging and promote healthy plant growth.

If you are in the market for land or already own a piece of it but don’t know what type to get, consider consulting with an expert realtor before making a final decision. They can provide you with valuable information on the type of soil that will work best for your needs and offer advice on how to keep it healthy going forward.

At Advantage Realty Land Management, we understand the importance of healthy land on your property. We have a team of experts who can help you ensure that your soil is as productive and fertile as it can be, no matter what industry you’re in.

Don’t allow your land to suffer from soil degradation. Take the necessary steps now by contacting us or visiting our website for more information,

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