Advances in Earth Science ›› 2006, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (2): 183-191. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2006.02.0183

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Induced Intensification, Land Use/Land Cover Changes and Land Degradation in Bangladesh

Abu Muhammad Shajaat Ali   

  1. Department of Social Sciences, the University of Texas at Tyler, Texas 75799, USA
  • Received:2005-12-20 Online:2006-02-15 Published:2006-02-15

Abu Muhammad Shajaat Ali. Induced Intensification, Land Use/Land Cover Changes and Land Degradation in Bangladesh[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2006, 21(2): 183-191.

This study examined the impacts of induced intensification of agriculture on land and soil qualities in six villages in Bangladesh. It compared the population, farming systems, land use and soil quality data collected in 1984-1985 and 2003-2004 from 265 households. The field research included personal interviews, plot-to-plot land use/land cover surveys, and collection and laboratory analysis of properties of 1 260 soil samples. Percentage change (1984-2004) in household and soil quality data were used to construct the statistical variables and land degradation indices used in testing the induced intensification and land degradation models. The results suggest cropping intensity and land productivity increments in the villages over time due to expansion of low-lift pump irrigation, uses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and cultivation of multiple high yielding rice, vegetables and shrimp. The induced intensification models explained 81% and 73% of cropping intensity and land productivity increments. Both population pressure and market forces have induced agricultural intensification; environmental constraints impeded it; and technology such as low-lift pump irrigation by combating drought contributed to agricultural growth. However, prolong uses of power tiller, low-lift irrigation pumps, chemicals, and frequent cultivation of HYV rice, vegetables and shrimp have degraded the structure, texture, and chemical properties of soils and reduced their productivity. More intensively cultivated fields experienced severer land degradation and greater reduction of crop yields. Agricultural intensification follows the Bosrupian path while gradual land degradation over time may lead to a Malthusian crisis in the country. 

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