Economics of soil degradation and sustainable use of land in danger of wind erosion
Soil degradation has been identified as one of the major threats to European soils. This article describes the conditions under which wind erosion of soils occurs in Ukraine and the potential soil loss caused by this problem. The purpose of this paper is to find the best option, from both an economic and an environmental point of view, to conserve and restore soil productivity on the land suffering from and at risk of wind erosion. Losses of humus and nutrients from the soil through deflation have been calculated for the districts of Volyn in 1999–2009, and ecological and economic damage from the loss of soil through deflation has been identified for Volyn district and the village of Pichcha. Three options to mitigate and compensate for the losses of organic matter and nutrients on the affected lands are assessed for the comparative effectiveness of the measures in the Pichcha village, Shatsky district, Volyn region during 2008–2012. In these sites, the research identified that the best measure against soil deflation as changing the economic use of lands at risk of soil erosion by wind. In particular, the halting of cattle grazing and the creation of overseeding grass meadows. This options has a number of advantages, including: the cultivation of perennial grasses generates income from the sale of seed clover in the first year and hay for following four years; through nitrogen fixing bacteria associated with the annual grasses improving nitrogen levels in the soil; and, through halting the deflationary processes in the different soil types in the investigated areas and allowing for the steady build up of a fertile humus layer.
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