From Soil to Ecosystem Management: A global perspective.
World population is growing rapidly and so is the need for more food, fibre and shelter. In most developing countries, where this population growth is taking place, there is very limited room for expanding agriculture as both land and water resources are already under pressure and getting scarce. Added to this is the problem of land degradation which is going on at an alarming rate in both developed and developing countries. Soil erosion is a major form of land degradation worldwide, which not only threatens the sustainable development of agricultural lands, but is also causing a production decline from lands already in use in many parts of the world. Soil erosion studies have gone to many phases during the past decade and are still evolving. Scientists have made significant achievements in understanding the processes involved in land degradation and have developed management tools and techniques to minimize erosion on all forms of land uses, however the fight is far from over. The situation is particularly bad in developing countries where the lack of infrastructure, knowledge and financial resources on the one hand, and the need for more agricultural produce on the other, is forcing farmers, land managers and even scientists to rely on imported technologies, which more often than not are un-suitable and do not produce the expected outcome. This paper reviews the past scientific achievements and discusses the future direction that land and water degradation and management need to take to meet the new challenges in both developed and developing countries. Examples of Australian experiences and successes in land and water management are given and their relevance to Iran's condition is discussed. A case study exemplifying the need for integrated approach to river and catchment management in Iran is also given.
Human Impact on Soil Quality Attributes