Today's Paper

Karnataka 5th in country in land degradation, says ISRO study

In a span of less than a decade, Karnataka has seen over 100 sq. km of its area becoming irreversibly degraded, says a report by the ISRO.

Using satellite imagery to study the extent of desertification between 2011 and 2013, the report shows that Karnataka remains the fifth largest State in terms of degraded land. The State follows the arid Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir in terms of degraded area.

Over 36.24 per cent of the geographical area (or a staggering 69,810 sq. km) is desertified or degraded.

This represents a 0.05 per cent increase since the last report in 2003-05.

However, even this increase represents a worrying trend, said Rajendra Hegde, head of the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Bengaluru, which partnered with ISRO for the study.

“Degradation has set inKarnataka and continues to grow as there is no integrated approach to improve soil health… the very definition of degradation means that it cannot be reversed in a man’s lifetime,” he said.

The primary cause of degradation is water erosion and vegetation degradation, which accounts for deforestation and over-grazed land.