Restoration of Degraded Soil for Sustainable Agriculture

Muhammad Ashar Ayub, Muhammad Usman, Tehmina Faiz, Muhammad Umair, Muhammad Anwar ul Haq, Muhammad Rizwan, Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Zia ur Rehman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Land degradation is a serious threat to agriculture which is adversely affecting the soil functions and productivity, while degraded soils stretch up to 6 billion ha worldwide. The population of the world is increasing day by day and agricultural land is declining due to degradation. It is estimated that 30% of forestry, 20% of agricultural land, and 10% of rangeland are severely affected by land degradation. Agriculture land is being degraded due to many reasons like deforestation, mining, misuse of fertilizers, and use of industrial water for irrigation purposes. This damage to ecosystem can be countered by adopting several soil restoration strategies. Major factors in land degradation which contribute to damaging the soil plant system are soil erosion, salt affectedness, decline in soil fertility and soil heavy metals contamination. Soil erosion can be minimized/controlled by afforestation, use of timber alternate, controlling the flow of water by growing cover crops, managing agricultural intensification and urban sprawl. Saline soils can be rehabilitated by growing salt-resistant crops, ploughing the salt-affected field deeply, and mixing of soil horizon. Chemically, reclamation of saline soils is also an option involving organic and inorganic amendments which can make salt-affected soils capable of giving a sustainable production. Different agronomic practices can also be followed to aid the soil rehabilitation and to increase crop productivity. Nutritional status of the soil can be improved by applying fertilizers, growing leguminous crops, green manuring, employing zero tillage practices, and crop rotation. Heavy metal contamination is one of the most severe degradation threats which can be minimized by using remediation techniques, organic and inorganic amendments, and phytoremediation. By adopting these strategies, degraded soils can be restored, and the world’s agriculture economic losses due to land degradation can be minimized.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoil Health Restoration and Management
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages51
ISBN (Electronic)9789811385704
ISBN (Print)9789811385698
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Land degradation
  • Restoration strategies
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil health
  • Soil pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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