It is estimated by the European Commission Joint Research Centre that approximately 36 billion tons of soil matter is lost due wind and water every year, and deforestation and other changes in land use even aggravates the problem. Also, estimates show that about 65% of the agricultural land is degraded, mainly due to low nutrient application, soil erosion and soil acidification (Zingore et al., 2015). The greatest increase in soil loss is estimated for Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Additionally, 30-40 t/ha average annual soil is lost through soil erosion on cropland in Africa, South America and Asia. Progressive intensive soil use for cultivation and livestock production, expansion of open fields, and burning of grass and bush savannah are resulting in significant loss of vegetation cover. The effects can be seen in greater runoff and increased soil erosion by wind and water, loss of soil organic carbon, crusting and desiccation of soils, and related declines in groundwater and surface water levels.
In view of these challenges, the practice of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) helps to mitigate soil degradation and enhance soil development, increase soil moisture, enabling soil development and functions, enhance primary production and nutrient cycling, and preserve biodiversity at the farm level through agroforestry, intercropping, fallow, and preservation of locally adapted seed according to the UNCCD. The practice of conservation agriculture studies has achieved a significant reduction in soil loss by 16% in South America, 15.4% for Oceania and 12.5% for North America.
By: Charles Mensah