«Dissertation Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum agriculturarum (Dr. rer. agr) eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen ...»
Source: Field Survey 2008 * Significant at level 0.01 ** Significant at level 0.05 *** Significant at level 0.10 These results also indicate that agriculture as a land-use change is a favorable option and is negatively related to land degradation. This means that, if more land was cultivated, less land would be degraded. Although the effect of this variable is quite small, it has some significance. The other two effective variables are industry and government acquisition, which have a positive impact; thus, if land was used for these changes, more land would be degraded because of biomass loss. In the following, all these options are discussed in detail.
Agricultural use: The study regions are wetlands and represent vast land resources for rice cultivation in the country. The landowners in all these twenty visited villages are of small and medium scale with an average plot size of thirty five acres. Only in one village, have the landowners reported their plot size to be approximately eighty acres on average. From the era of green revolution, many developments have been conceived for the promotion of agriculture in these regions; the benefits from these developments have been measured both at the macro and at the micro level in terms of the productivity from the land and the living standard of the local landowners, such as a reduction in poverty. The best land was alienated by the indigenous people, and the major focus was the cultivation of a cash crop, mainly rice, by using some advanced feasible technologies.
These technological changes and policies for an increase in output gave concerns about their effects on soil productivity. Real effects on land degradation were evident with extensive use of the small plots and because of mono-cropping; these two effects resulted in soil exhaustion. The problem was exacerbated by the continuous production of rice season after the season, without alternative crop cultivation.
During an interview, an expert in the rice agriculture research centre Kalashakako provided information about the soil condition of the selected regions. According to his view, land degradation in these areas, in which the land is saline or sodic, can be measured through the pH of the soil. If the pH is highly alkaline, up to the level of 7.8, then this suggests the reduction in the availability of nutrients such as phosphorous. The presence of a greenish layer of leaf-like growth on the land confirms the sign of phosphorus deficiency.
In the first case study region, the Shaikhupura-Kamoki region, the pH was greater than 8.5, and the soil had high sodium content. The land had a greenish layer of leaves, which reflected the deficiency of phosphorous in the soil. According to the expert's opinion, the soil contained less than 11 ppm on average of available phosphorous. Figure 7.1 shows land affected by such a deficiency in one of the visited villages (Majuchack).
Figure 7.1: Land Affected by Sodic Soil in the Village Majuchack
Similarly, in the second region, Qadirabad Dam region, the land was degraded because of waterlogging, and according to the expert’s information, major crops frequently suffered from excessive wetness in various parts of the region, as the water saturation zone remained above the soil surface (Figure 7.2). These areas suffered with a loss of nitrogen, as nitrate added to the soil was unable to recover completely and not only caused denitrification in these areas, but also formed toxic nitrates (Subrahmanyan 2009: ).
Figure 7.2: Land Affected by Waterlogging in the Village Alipur Chattah
In the third case, Nandipur region, some of the land was saline, with a pH level of 7.8, and the reason of this salinity was the inadequate drainage system. For this purpose, a large amount of water is required, which is helpful to keep a favorable salt balance in the root zone. Figure 7.3 is a photographic presentation of the land and shows the physical condition of the soil with the occurrence of the salinity problem.
Figure 7.3: Land Affected by Salinity in the Village Mahrwala
Most of the landowners in these regions have changed their mind set with regard to cultivation, as now they grow wheat and some other crops on their land, instead of just rice, because of the shortage of water in the region and the change in the quality of land for the production of rice. Because of this, the estimated results for agricultural use from the data obtained through a survey in the two regions SKR and NR have a negative effect on land degradation. In the case of QR, people remain loyal to mono-cropping, which causes land degradation.
Although land is degraded, most of the population of the regions are still dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. According to the survey results, fifty two percent of landowners in SKR are in favor of the cultivation of their land, whereas in QR, thirty six percent people have an interest in agriculture, and in NR, sixty six percent people are working on farms and growing wheat together with fodder on their land (Table 7.6).
Source: Survey 2008 According to the measured efficiencies for these three regions, this option is most effective in Shaikhupura-Kamoki, where its value is 0.23, with a negative sign. Hence, by using proper techniques for cultivation, land degradation can be controlled in this region, as it can in the Nandipur region, where this option is not as efficient as in SKR but can have a significant effect. In the Qadirabad region, the value of efficiency is 0.20, meaning that this land would be more degraded by switching over to this option.
Real estate building: Housing and real estate building is a fast growing business in these regions of Pakistan because of the surroundings, as these regions are sandwiched between large cities and are highly suitable for job opportunities. The businessmen are interested in these areas for building housing societies to accommodate people who wish to have a more serene lifestyle outside the cities, because these cities have become crowded and nosier as they have expanded. House builders provide homes for the people together with many other modern facilities within a locality.
Technically, a house is a man-made structure on a piece of land, for which the land is mainly reshaped for the required structure. Construction work near or on the agricultural land in these areas is not favorable to the productivity of land because of following reasons.
1. The loss of agricultural output in the case of land-use change for housing, instead of farming (Johnson and Lewis 2007: 164).
2. Material used in construction, such as concrete and paint, has the potential to contaminate the soil and underground water (Environmental protection agency, Gujranwala) and caused degradation.
3. The direction of the flow of underground water might change; this will not favor other parts of the agricultural land (Soil fertility research centre, Lahore: 2001).
4. During and after the construction of a housing society, the soil would be exposed, which will lead to vulnerable erosion (Soil fertility research centre, Lahore: 2001).
Together with all these limitations, this change of land use has also been clearly observed in all three regions, and moreover, most of the conflicts related to the land distribution were linked to this use in one form or another (discussed in Chapter 6). According to the survey results, currently in SKR, four percent and, in QR, ten percent of landowners have already sold their land to real estate builders. On the other hand, in the third case study region (NR), no one is involved in this selling. During a visit to the environmental agency and city planning commission in Lahore and Gujranwala, I discovered that laws exist there for the protection of environment, but in the case of private property, they are not implemented. Every individual landowner has a right to decide about the use of his estate. On being asked if they were interested in this business, and whether they wanted to sell their land for building, the landowners said that, if selling was profitable and gave them more returns in comparison with cultivation, then they would sell. Currently, nineteen percent landowners were involved, and twenty nine percent of them were interested as shown in Table 7.7.
With regard to the calculated efficiency of land degradation (Table 7.3 and 7.4) for this option, in SKR, the value is slightly less than the value for QR, but both are efficient for causing land degradation in the regions. In NR, this option for land use was not observed.
Thus, these results indicate that soil erosion would increase, because of this land-use option in the area, with a maximum in the Qadirabad Dam region, a more moderate effect in Shaikhupura-Kamoki region, and no effect in the Nandipur region.
Industry: Some parts of the land in these three regions have been affected by degradation to a degree sufficient to reduce its productivity, because of various industrial activities. The major four industrial options observed in these regions are ceramics, furniture, leather, and riceprocessing units. Some landowners have already sold their land for these businesses, and some were interested in selling or starting their own business. Details of this are given in Table 7.8. Mostly, landowners have a lack of finance and, hence, were interested in riceprocessing units, because of the availability of raw material.
Source: Survey 2008 All those households involved in industrial activity were divided into two categories: (1) already sold or having started their business or (2) interested in this activity (shown in Figure 7.4). According to the estimated effectiveness, the Nandipur region is highly affected by these industrial activities (Table 7.4) as compared with other land-use options in this region.
However, the comparative analysis of three region shows that the Shaikhupura-Kamoki region is most effected among all the three (Table 7.2) with a value of eight percent land degradation because of this use. In the other two cases, land is degraded by about six percent in NR and three percent in QR, because of industry as an option of land-use change.
As per the survey results, most of the owners were interested in the business of riceprocessing units. Some units had already been established in these regions (shown in Figure 7.4). These were observed as a major pollutant within the area and not only cause dust and noise in the regions, but also are harmful to the agricultural land of the area. They produce rice-milling dust and soot (produced through the generators of the mills), with exhaust fumes that settle on the crop and land in the nearby agricultural plots; this causes the subsequent land degradation.
Figure 7.4: Comparison of Regions regarding Industry as an Option of Land-use Change Source: Own Presentation, Survey 2008 Similarly, mineral processes such as the grinding of calcite and soapstone for the ceramic industry produce a huge quantity of dust, which retards the process of the infiltration of water into the soil after settling onto the land (Soil fertility institute, Lahore, Pandey and Singh 2009).
This is one of the reasons for land degradation in SKR. In the case of the leather industry, some chemicals are used that have toxic effect on the health of the soil (Kanagaraj et al. 2006: 541). Therefore, effluents from these industries have become a major source of land pollution in the region NR.
Raw material, which is used in the manufacturing of furniture, such as metals and dyes, has an influence on land in the Qadirabad region. Metal contaminants mostly affect the ground water, and metal dust emissions when they settle down onto the land stop the filtration of water into the soil. Similarly, dyes and pigments also have a negative impact on the land (Wilson 2002: 1), as they produced toxic effects on the land and cause a fall in the productivity in QR.
Fish farming: Fish farming is another alternative option of land use in the case study area of the Qadirabad Dam region, where generally soil suffers with a waterlogging problem.