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    • Causes
      • Deforestation
        • Without plant cover, erosion can occur and sweep the land into rivers. The agricultural plants that often replace the trees cannot hold onto the soil and many of these plants, such as coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean and wheat, can actually worsen soil erosion. And as land loses its fertile soil, agricultural producers move on, clear more forest and continue the cycle of soil loss
      • Overgrazine
        • Overgrazing can reduce ground cover, enabling erosion and compaction of the land by wind and rain.. This reduces the ability for plants to grow and water to penetrate, which harms soil microbes and results in serious erosion of the land
      • Use of Agrochemical
        • Scientists have found that overuse of some of these chemicals changes soil composition and disrupts the balance of microorganisms in the soil. This stimulates the growth of harmful bacteria at the expense of beneficial kinds.
    • Impacts
      • Loss of Arable Land
        • Arable land is any land that can be used to grow crops. Many of the practices used in growing those crops can lead to the loss of topsoil and destruction of soil characteristics that make agriculture possible.
      • Clogged and Polluted Waterways
        • Soil eroded from the land, along with pesticides and fertilizers applied to fields, washes into streams and waterways. This sedimentation and pollution can damage freshwater and marine habitats and the local communities that depend on them.
      • Increased Flooding
        • Land is often transformed from a forest or other natural landscape, such as floodplains and wetlands, into a crop field or pasture.
          • The converted land is less able to soak up water, making flooding more common.
        • There are methods to improve soil water holding capacity as well as restoration and maintenance of wetlands.
    • Responses
      • Working to Reduce Deforestation
      • Preventing Desert Expansion
        • To prevent desert expansion, WWF works to preserve and restore ecosystems in danger of desertification
        • For example, in the Mediterranean, WWF developed a program to create a network of protected forests to integrate conservation and development so that local people would benefit from their natural heritage.


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