The Effects Of Land Degradation

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Arundel, Maine is a beautiful rural community in southern Maine. This small town is home to many cattle and horse farms. Many parts of Arundel are suffering from severe land degradation. 1 Degradation can range from a reduction or loss of biodiversity, salinization, erosion, and encroachment. Degradation can also range from nutrient depletion, changes in soil structure and PH, desertification, and loss of organic matter (Brennan, 2005).
The beautiful land in many parts of Arundel has become very over grazed. This is the main cause of the land degradation. Over grazing can lead to soil erosion and deposition, land degradation, and the overabundance of weed take over. Additionally, soil loses can lose it’s nutrients and organic matter. Overgrazing
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The definition for overgrazing varies based on different ecological views (wildlife conservationist, nature conservationist, population ecologist, etc.) To summarize, it is safe to say that overgrazing is defined by higher than wanted impact (based on management objectives) to the grazing land. Additionally, it can be said that over grazing can be defined as animals grazing to the point of vegetation coverage loss or damage. Historical increases and decreases (naturally and through culling) in domestic and semi-domestic herds were analyzed. The researchers compared densities of deer and sheep herds with densities and percentages of preferred and non preferred plants in grazing areas. Although contributing factors, the research concluded that the factors that contribute to overgrazing are not solely based on population density, grazing, trampling, defecation, urination, and browsing. The problem of overgrazing is also correlated to plant’s traits, the plant’s ability to tolerate or resist overgrazing, land grade, and soil quality. These factors make clearly defining carry capacity challenging (Mysterud, 2006) Research has been conducted on plant (forage) traits and how these traits correlate to over grazing or prevention over grazing in sagebrush steppe (a grass and area with shrubs). The study concludes that plant traits are one tool that can used to predict the effects of over grazing. Additionally, factors include soil types, land grades, and herd densities. Different ecosystems handle over grazing differently based on all of these factors (including forage traits). So although there are many factors that contribute to over grazing predictions, a large factor in predicting overgrazing is forage quality, forage palatability, forage resistance level, and forage traits. Although species specific predictions are challenge to create, the research found that plants low in nutrients are

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