Environmental degradation is a process through which the natural environment is compromised in some way, reducing biological diversity and the general health of the environment. This process can be entirely natural in origin, or it can be accelerated or caused by human activities. Many international organizations recognize environmental degradation as one of the major threats facing the planet, since humans have only been given one Earth to work with, and if the environment becomes irreparably compromised, it could mean the end of human existence.
Deforestation is the clearance of forests by logging and/or burning.Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees or derived charcoal are used as, or sold, for fuel or as a commodity, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities, and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland
There are many root causes of contemporary deforestation, including corruption of government institutions, the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, population growth and overpopulation, and urbanization. Globalization is often viewed as another root cause of deforestation, though there are cases in which the impacts of globalization have promoted localized forest recovery.
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid and dry sub-humid areas due to various factors: including climatic variations and human activities. Desertification results chiefly from man-made activities: It is principally caused by overgrazing, over drafting of groundwater and diversion of water from rivers for human consumption and industrial use, all of these processes are fundamentally driven by overpopulation.
A major impact of desertification is reduced biodiversity and diminished productive capacity, for example, by transition from land dominated by shrub lands to non-native grasslands
Desertification is induced by several factors, primarily anthropogenic causes, which began in the Holocene era and continue at the highest pace today. The primary reasons for desertification are overgrazing, over-cultivation, increased fire frequency, water impoundment, deforestation, over drafting of groundwater, increased soil salinity, and global climate change.
When human or natural forces release chemicals or other substances into the environment, the process is known as emission. Emission often causes pollution, for example is caused when chemicals are released into the air.
Many natural processes cause emissions. When a volcano erupts, it lets out acid, and acid, ash, and many toxic gases. When fires break out in forests, they release smoke, soot, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, dioxins, and carbon dioxide
Erosion is the process of weathering and transport of solids in the natural environment or their source and deposits them elsewhere. It usually occurs due to transport by wind, water, or ice; by down-slope creep of soil and other material under the force of gravity; or by living organisms, such as burrowing animals, in the case of bioerosion.
A certain amount of erosion is natural and, in fact, healthy for the ecosystem. For example, gravels continuously move downstream in watercourses. Erosion is distinguished from weathering, which is the process of chemical or physical breakdown of the minerals in the rocks, although the two processes may occur concurrently.
When land is overused by animal activities, there can be mechanical erosion and also removal of vegetation leading to erosion.
In the case of the animal kingdom, this effect would become material primarily with very large animal herds stampeding such as the Blue Wildebeest on the Serengeti plain.
This effect may be viewed as anomalous or a problem only when there is a significant imbalance or overpopulation of one species.
In case of human, the effects are also generally linked to overpopulation. When large number of hikers use trails or extensive off road vehicle use occurs, erosive effects often follow, arising from vegetation removal and furrowing of foot traffic and off road vehicle tires.