Biological Factors Of Soil Degradation In Nigeria

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There are also some biological factors that contributes to the degradation of Nigerian soil. However, these biological factors refer to the human, animal, and plant activities that have the tendency to reduce the soil’s quality and fertility. Although the effects of biological factors are less noticeable compared to other factors. Most of the leaders in the country lack the ability to conserve and manage the land resources. Image 3 shows how the land is littered with rubbishes like biochemical products (Image by Imoke Eni).

Some bacteria and fungi overgrowth that is an increase in these areas leads to a high negative impact on the microbial activity of the soil. When there is a bio-chemical reaction with these bacteria and fungi, it causes
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Water logging or acidity are the chemical components that can cause soil degradation. The quality and the availability of soil nutrient is dependent on the chemical properties of the soil. If there is any alteration in the soil’s chemical property, it can lead to salt build-up, loosen soil texture and structure, which aids erosion, leaching of nutrients. When these undesirable changes are made, the land is said to be barren because of the irreversible loss of soil nutrients.

There are also other factors that causes soil degradation in Nigeria. These factors include poor farming practices, inappropriate irrigation, overgrazing, land clearing or deforestation, urban sprawl, land pollution plus industrial waste, mining of stone, minerals, sand, and other commercial developmental activities. However, I will discuss selected few in this article.
Misuse or excess use of fertilisers
The development in technology and the introduction of fertilisers without proper education contributes to the misuse of fertilisers in the country. Many famers misuse pesticides and chemical fertilisers thereby killing organisms that can assist in binding the soil together. Because they want high yield and money, they use excess fertilisers, which at the end kills the soil’s beneficial bacteria, fungi, and other micro-organisms needed for soil
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There are certain agricultural practices that contribute to soil quality decline. Such practices are faming on steep slope, mono-cropping (although many regions practice multi-copping), row-cropping, and surface irrigation during the dry seasons, which wears away natural composition of the soil and prevent regeneration. Many famers do not use plant covers, which exposes the soil to erosion especial the Southern states that receive more rain per year. Also, farmers today now shorten the length of bush fallow, which have an impact on soil regeneration.
Overgrazing
Presently, according to a study in one of the southern states, Cross River, soil degradation “. . . due to past soil erosion range from 55-79 % with a mean loss of 67%” and adoption of mechanised agriculture has caused yield reduction of 35-60% (Eni). Overgrazing is a very big threat to the soil quality and agricultural activities in Nigeria. It breaks down soil particles, thereby increasing erosion rate. It also destroys surface cover crop which can help reduce erosion.

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