Soil degradation drivers

Nowadays, there is a number of factors that cause land degradation. The main causes that contribute to degradation are the unfavorable social atmosphere.


Main factors causing land degradation

Ukraine’s arable land is greatly eroded, since 78,8% percent of Ukraine’s arable land and 56,1% of the total territory is cultivated. Cultivation rates are particularly high in southern steppe zone of Ukraine.

Land cultivation level by country

No.
з/п.
CountryLand cultivation, %Arable land, %
1.Ukraine56,178,8
2.Moldova53,772,6
3.Poland35,775,7
4.Germany34,071,0
5.France33,563,7
6.Netherlands31,056,8
7.Belarus27,965,7
8.United Kingdom25,836,2
9.USA16,937,9
10.Austria16,449,8
11.China11,320,6
12.Kazakhstan10,913,5
13.Russia7,556,5
14.Canada5,170,5

Source: FAOSTAT data. http://www.fao.org


Cultivation of arable land in different edaphic-climatic zones of UkraineSource: Statistical data collection, 2014

The open straw and residues burning is still a common practice in Ukraine, that leads to the destruction of soil biota and the combustion of humus in the fertile upper layers of the soil. However, such actions are prohibited by law and entail fines.


space images of open burning of open straw and residue burning , according to satellite Santinel-2 data (1, 2 – Novoukrainsky raion of Kirovohrad Oblast, 27.09.2017; 3 – Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi raion of Odessa Oblast, 30.09.2017; 4 – Dobrovelychkivkyi raion of Kirovohrad Oblast, 30.09.2017).Source: https://eos.com

Regards to unsustainable intensive land use, climate change can have a synergistic effect, increasing land degradation. The following changes in the soil cover may occur – enhance soil erosion, increased areas of compacted soil, increased soil acidity and salinity, further humus depletion, an increase in the area experiencing moisture deficit, etc.