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Erosion of soils

In the past few years the rate of the soil degradation is accelerated. Thus, the soil dehumification annual rate runs as high as 0.6 to 1.0 thousand hectares, and the eroded land area measures now 40% of the total territory. Annually up to 500 million tons of ground are washed out from the hill sides, which results in the loss of 24 million tons of humus, 1 million tons of nitrogen, 700 thousand tons of phosphorus and 10 million tons of potassium.

The average annual rate of the eroded area increment is 80 thousand hectares. The negative balance of the soil nutrition elements reaches 100 kg per hectare and more, and nearly all the tillage soil is overcondensed. Serious concern raises from the fact that in some regions soil doesn’t receive enough such physiologically important micro elements as molybdenum, manganese, iodine, fluorine, selenium. Low concentration of the above elements in the soil may result not only in the decline of the agricultural crops yields and cattle reproduction rates, but also in giving rise to some of the endemic diseases of the population. It especially concerns such elements as iodine and selenium. Judging by the data, provided by the different sources, iodine content in the vegetable and meat products in some regions of Polissja is 10 to 20 times lower than in the similar agricultural products in the United States, Japan and other countries.

The continuous observations prove that the soil acidification is fully under way, concentration of the movable phosphorus and exchange potassium is further declining.

The reduction of the area of actual irrigation, the poor current technical conditions of the irrigation and drainage systems (up to 20% of irrigated land and near 10% of drained land require renovation of existing amelioration, drainage and irrigation equipment), large areas of flooded irrigated land together with acidified land and land under bushes, salinized by the irrigation areas, and repeatedly acidified land have brought about a general decline in agricultural production yields of 30-40% on irrigated lands and 15-37% on drained lands.

Up to 20% of the polluted territories, which belong to the built-up area, outskirts and industrial zones, are in critical condition.

Anti-erosion measures.

In 1998 there have been developed projects of the land management with the ameliorative organization and outlining of the terrain (running total since 1986) in 2471 collective agricultural enterprises with the area of 9.36 million hectares, which occupy one forth of the planned area.

However, the work on outlining the boundaries of the fields and working plots was not conducted in 1998.

Types and extent of the major anti-erosion measures, which were implemented in 1998, are laid down in the Table 3.24

In response to the lack of financing in the great majority of the regions the actual implementation of the complex of anti-erosion measures, including purely agrotechnical ones and measures on protecting soil against air and water erosion, is currently on the idle.

During the last year in Ukraine 3329.5 hectares of land were re-cultivated, out of which 2006.3 hectares went to the arable land, 1465.6 hectares – to tillage land, 714.9 hectares went under the forest (bushes) plantations, 171 hectares – to the water reservoirs, 74 hectares – to the built-up zones, 218.3 hectares went under the recreation and other facilities.

473 hectares out of total re-cultivated area came from the land, destroyed during the peat extraction, 175 hectares of the above went to the arable land, which included 297 hectares for the forest (bush) plantation, 1 hectare was turned into pond, 118 hectares were re-cultivated from the land under the abandoned industrial enterprises.

In 1998 2.5 million m of the fertile soil were moved and 3.7 million cu.m of the fertile soil were utilized, out of which 0.35 million cu. m came from the sugar plants storage.

Stored were 1.9 million cu.m (total) of the fertile soil including 0.84 million cu.m – on the sugar plants of the country.

Productivity of the low-productive arable land was enhanced with the usage of the above fertile land on 455 hectares (total) including tillage land of 448 hectares.

At the end of 1998 the area of the deteriorated agricultural amounted to 161.4 thousand hectares (total) with 28 thousand hectares deteriorated while extracting peat. Recovered from the deteriorated area accounts for 41.0 thousand hectares (total), out of which 10.0 thousand hectares are recovered from the abandoned peateries.

5123 hectares constitute the area which is currently under the mining-technical re-cultivation; 854 hectares of the above are in the process of shrinkage after the completion of planning work; 3904 hectares enter the stage of the biological re-cultivation.

In 1998 the activities on increasing the soil fertility were on the further decline.

During 1998 crop year the collective agricultural enterprises belonging the Ministry of agroindustrial complex of Ukraine applied 514 thousand tons of mineral fertilizers or 21 kg of the fertilizer per 1 hectare of tillage, which is nearly 7 times less than in 1990, and 3.6 times less than the 1991-1995 average.

The dynamics of the mineral, organic fertilizers and chemical reclamants application are depicted in the Table 3.25.


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