Arundel, Maine: Land Degradation

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 town is currently asking for feedback from animal owners to help create ordinances that conserve land resources, but also allow land owners to sustain their herds.
The solution to this problem lies in adopting responsible and sustainable grazing practices through land management. 1 Vegetation is ultimately what holds the soil in the place to prevent degradation. The roots keep the soil from eroding and the vegetation slows the wind and water flow, further preventing erosion (Brennan, 2005). To promote dense native vegetation, herds should be managed in numbers per acre based on the type of vegetation that is found in grazing areas.
Herd density alone is not a determining factor for overgrazing or carrying capacity. 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
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If the town of Arundel implements ordinances that control land management, herd density, and rotational grazing, the town will need to hire additional staff to enforce the ordinances. This cost will ultimately be passed along to tax payers or be funded by cutting other programs if additional funding is not approved. In a worse case scenario, the ordinances will not be enforced and over grazing will continue to take place.
Additional disadvantages include space restrictions. Farmers may not own enough grazing land to rotate grazing areas. If this is the case, will farmers be required to decrease herd densities? This is something the town will have to take into consideration. Reducing herd numbers can have a substantial impact on a farmer’s income. Additionally, some land owners may also view the ordinances and restrictions as a violation of the land owner

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