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EVALUATION OF THE FERTILITY CHARACTERISTICS OF A DEGRADED FIELD IN IDEATOR-OWERRI

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TOPIC:

EVALUATION OF THE FERTILITY CHARACTERISTICS OF A DEGRADED FIELD IN IDEATOR-OWERRI

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

1.1 Background of the study

Land degradation is a concept in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by one or more combination of human induced processes acting upon the land. It literally refers to the impairment of natural quality of soil component of any ecosystem. Land degradation which is also seen as a decline in land quality caused by human activities, has been a major global issue since the 20th century and it has remained high on the international agenda in the 21st century. The importance of land degradation in Ideato/owerriis enhanced because of its impact on food security and quality of the environments. The map of the study area is presented on the next page.

Land degradation can be viewed as any change or disturbance to the land perceived to be deleterious or undesirable (Eswaran, 2001). In the study area, the researcher observed loss of the biological and economic productivity and complexity of rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, range, forest and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a combination of processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns such as soil erosion caused by wind or water, deterioration of the physical, chemical, biological and economic properties of soil and long-term loss of natural vegetation. But there are also off-site effects, such as loss of watershed functions which is a major problem in Ideato/owerri.

Natural hazards are excluded as a cause of land degradation in Ideato/owerri, however human activities can indirectly affect phenomena such as floods and bush fires.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Research has shown that up to 60% of agricultural land in Ideato/owerri is seriously degraded. Furthermore, the main outcome of land degradation is a substantial reduction in the productivity of the land

The major causes of land degradation include, land clearance poor farming practices, overgrazing, inappropriate irrigation, urban sprawl, and commercial development, land pollution including industrial waste and quarrying of stone, sand and minerals. High population density is not necessarily related to land degradation within Ideato/owerri, but it is what a population does to the land that determines the extent of degradation. In the study area, where a large proportion of human population depend almost entirely on land resources for their sustenance, this over dependency results in the increasing competing demand for land utilization such as grazing, fish pond construction, quarrying, crop farming amongst others.

1.3 Objectives of the study

  1. To understand the meaning of land degradation
  2. To evaluate the fertility characteristics of a degraded field in ideato/owerri
  3. To come up with recommendations

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the meaning of land degradation?
  2. What are the fertility characteristics of a degraded field in ideato/owerri

1.5 Research Hypothesis

H0: Land degradation does have a negative impact on the fertility characteristics of a degraded field in ideato/owerri

H1: Land degradation does not have a negative impact on the fertility characteristics of a degraded field in ideato/owerri

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