Most significant land degradation in Pune district

Published on by 7bighagroup


Pune has the dubious distinction of being among five districts in the country that have the ‘most significantly degraded’ land. Researchers say that rapid urbanization and industrialization are among the factors responsible for the quality of the land changing for the worse. They fear that should the degradation continue, long tracts of land could well become useless for farming.

Besides Pune, the other districts where the land has badly degraded are Surat (Gujarat), Ferozepur (Punjab), Hassan (Karnataka) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu). Thirteen other districts have been classified as having ‘degraded’ land.

These are the findings mentioned in a report, ‘Impact of climate change on land degradation over India’, compiled by researchers of the National Climate Centre (NCC) of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In the study, land degradation has been examined by taking into consideration the soil moisture status during two different time periods.

The researchers have observed that the land degradation will harm farming. “It will have a bearing on the quality of the land and impact the water content. If the degradation continues, it can lead to desertification of the land, rendering it useless for farming,” P G Gore, director (investigations and development) at NCC, told TOI. Gore said that apart from urbanization and industrialisation, hacking of trees and rising pollution levelswereother key reasons for land degradation in Pune district and other parts of the country.

Gore, who prepared the report along with B A Roy and H R Hatwar, said the rainfall for the period 1901 to 1950 and 1941 to 1990 was used to calculate the moisture index (soil moisture status). “This index is calculated using the ratioof precipitation (P)to potential evapotranspiration (PE). This ratio provides a simple method of estimating the moisture status of a place. Evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and planttranspiration from the land surface to the atmosphere,”heexplained.

Gore said a P/PE ratio of less than 1 means that the moisture contentof thesoilis notsufficient to cope with the needs of evapotranspiration. It also means that the place has a dry climate. If the ratio is greater than 1, the availability of soil moisture is greater andtheclimateishumid.

As per the report, the moisture index of Pune district was 0.78 from 1901 to 1950. However, it felldrastically to 0.49 in the period from 1941to1990.

“Degradation of land is a bad sign,” said environment expert MukundGhare.“Itisbadfor agriculture and the overall environment. Some of the reasons that have led to land degradation in the country and Pune include over-cultivation, overgrazing, deforestation and poor irrigation practices.”

Ecologist Prakash Gole said measures were necessary to stop further degradation of land. Stepslikeland restoration and reduction of human and livestock influence were necessary to counter land degradation, he said.

Published on Pune Real Estate News

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