Impact Of Population Growth On Soil Change And Water Resources

Did you know that for the human population to continue to increase all depends strongly on the ecosystem services provided by soils? Soils however, are becoming more and more degraded as the number of people increases, which could potentially threaten the future welfare of the human population. With the human population and food supply needed soil needs to be conserved. In order to protect our soil in relation to world human population growth and the food supply we need to identify the problems, and solutions that humans are causing.

Many problems consist of loss of fertile cropland, agricultural productivity, increase of human population, and the human waste. These problems can possibly be solved by improving soils, reduce erosion caused by agriculture, ending the destruction of ecosystems, and reducing waste.

First, we must look at the history of how this all came to be by a huge increase in agricultural productivity and output during the agricultural revolution contributed to the population growth.

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The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are vast, and they’ll only become more demanding over time as we try to meet the growing need for food worldwide. A huge increase in agricultural productivity and output happened during the agricultural revolution in which contributed to the population growth. Between the eighth century and the eighteenth, the tools of farming basically stayed the same and few advancements in technology were made. With the agriculture revolution created a surplus of food, so fewer people died from starvation. These changes were from machines and pesticides.

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This increase made it simple for the companies to provide more and more food. These poor early practices of using up soil and not replacing the organic matter and spraying pesticides and not knowing the damages is what this new-found technology has done. Soil reduced richness caused by over usage, acidification, salinization or other chemical soil pollution is destroying our soil at an alarming rate.

This damaging issue is the exhaustion of soil through intensive cropping without compensation from applications of organic matter and nutrients. Adding new organic material every year is perhaps the most important way to improve and maintain soil quality. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers have valuable benefits, but they also can harm non-target organisms and pollute water and air if they are mismanaged. Nutrients from organic sources also can pollute when misapplied or over-applied. Soil conservation is going to be ideal in order to feed the world at this increasing population rate with high-tech, precision farming systems, as well as approaches borrowed from organic farming, we could boost yields in these places several times over. Certainly, enhanced technology will assist in more effective management and the use of resources, but it cannot produce a limitless flow of those vital natural resources that are the raw materials for sustained agricultural production. There might be increased yields by using better crop varieties and more fertilizer, irrigation, and machine but with major environmental costs. For instance, fertilizers enhance the richness of eroded soils, but humans cannot make topsoil. We must improve our soils slowly using the organic matter to enhance and keep soils well-nourished or croplands can be lost.

Currently, fertile cropland, is being lost at an alarming rate. For example, nearly one-third of the world's cropland (1.5 billion hectares) has been abandoned during the past 40 years because erosion which has made it unproductive, solving erosion losses is a long-term problem it takes 500 years to form 25 mm of soil under agricultural conditions. (Pimentel et al., 1995). In agriculture, soil erosion is defined as the wear and tear of a field's topsoil by the normal physical forces of water and wind or through forces associated with farming activities such as tillage. Through misguided farming methods human activity increases erosion risks, there might be hope that the current trend can be overturned. This could consist of improving infiltration to produce more biomass and increasing plant cover to return more organic residue to the soil, thus reducing the runoff, erosion and drainage that would soon deplete soils. Crop rotation also helps reduce rain drop influence on the soil and overall erosion by water because the roots of the plants hold the top layer soil together. When the soil is covered with plants, the top soil layer won’t be carried away by water during heavy rainfall. This would take time and could slowly be reverted with the rotation of crops each year.

The Agriculture’s footprint has caused the loss of whole ecosystems around the globe, including the prairies of North America and the Atlantic forest of Brazil, and tropical forests continue to be cleared at alarming rates. (National Geographic). This alone should alarm the world that the destruction of supplying food and resources is at a cost to the environments. Most of the countries in the world, especially evolving countries, all face environmental problems. Limitations of basic resources (water and soil) and population growth has been the cause of these environmental problems that countries are challenged with. In most cases countries have other numerous problems effecting our environments including destructions of forests, vegetable and animal species, and pollution of the soils and many ecosystems. Not only is farming the thirstiest user of our precious water supplies but is a major contaminator, as runoff from fertilizers and manure disturbs rivers, lakes, and coastal ecosystems across the globe. In order to save the soil and provide food for everyone changes must occur and the amount of waste isn’t helping.

According to United States Department of agriculture, “In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.” (Food Loss and Waste) That is an astronomical amount of waste of resources and of money. How can we be more ecologically and economically smart with our food? Consumers in the more advanced world could reduce waste by taking such simple steps as serving smaller portions, eating leftovers, and encouraging cafeterias, restaurants, and supermarkets to develop waste-reducing measures. In rich countries most of that waste occurs in homes, restaurants, or supermarkets. In poor countries food is often lost between the farmer and the market, due to unreliable storage and transportation. Of all the options for boosting food availability, tackling waste would be one of the most effective. An estimated 25 percent of the world’s food calories and up to 50 percent of total food weight are lost or wasted before they can be consumed. (National Geographic). According to that data that would mean only around 25% is being used. This is extremely shocking and should be brought to attention to many countries. There should be uses for the waste like composting, turn into biodiesel, and so many other useful uses for leftover food and waste.

In conclusion as the world population continues to expand, all vital natural resources will have to be separated among growing numbers of people and per-capita availability will decline to low levels. When this occurs, it will become quite difficult to maintain richness, a quality life, and even particular freedoms for those who already enjoy them, much less secure those benefits for the billions currently living without. By improving our productivity without destroying soil, reducing erosion from our agriculture use, and reducing waste from the increasing number of people we will be able to provide for the future.  


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Impact Of Population Growth On Soil Change And Water Resources. (2022, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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