Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020

Natural Resource

Land is the most prized asset in U.P. of the total area of 2.42 crore ha the net cultivated area is 1.68 cr. Ha but 28.5 lakh ha of it is subject to serious soil erosion. In addition, there are degraded lands (38 lakh ha) that are sodic, ravinous, water-logged or flood prone. A two-pronged strategy is called for. Firstly, productive land must be saved from degradation. Secondly, a full-blooded drive must be launched to recover already degraded land for production. Progress in recovering degraded lands has been slow.

Land is one of the most critical factors for the presence of life and its sustenance on this planet. As a resource it is limited and inelastic. We know that. Yet, it is also true that the increasing human demand for it, and consequently, the natural resources of diverse types found on it, are giving rise to a myriad environmental, economical and social problems, creating in the process, inequalities, tensions, poverty and corroding competition. World over, the impacts of land scarcity in both quantitative and qualitative terms are experience actuely barring a few countries which are more fortunately placed in this context. Though nearly one-fourth of the earth’s land is covered  soil only about a little over one tenth is naturally suited for agriculture. Per capita availability of arable land is falling all over.

The problem of land management, globally, has now become the problem of saving the earth.  The fact is that we are over-drawing from a finite account. According to experts. “the amount of crops, animals and other biomatter that we extract from the earth each year exceeds what the planet can replace by an ;estimated 20%, meaning it takes 14.4 months to replensh what we use in twelve, deficit spending of the worst kind”

Land is an essential pre-requisite both for primary production system as well as for meeting social priorities and therefore, must be available in adequate extent and desired quality. Similarly, Water is also a critical input and its availability should be assured.    Per capita availability of these two resources is declining due to various reasons. Successful development planning for future will now depend on scientific land use planning with specific consideration to maintaining and improving the interrelationship between land and water cycles.  In developing countries like India, problems of soil erosion and land degradation are intimately associated with land husbandry as well as growth promoting developmental activities.  It is, therefore, necessary to ensure generation of sustainable livelihood in terms of food and income through proper maintenance and enhancement of the productivity of the resource base on a long-term basis.

The concern of development planning is not only to manage land surface and soil profile for better nutrient supply to the plants and more beneficial distribution of limited water source but also to ensure Sustainable Livelihood Security (SLS).  Livelihood is defined as adequate stock and flows of food and income to meet the basic needs while the term ‘sustainable’ refers to maintenance or enhancement of productivity of the resources based on long-term basis.  Therefore, secured resources and adequate livelihood are pre-requisites for good husbandry and sustainable management of the natural resources base of land, water and vegetation.