Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eighty Percent of Las Tunas Province Is Facing Soil Erosion

Eighty Percent of Las Tunas Province Is Facing Soil Erosion / 14ymedio
Posted on July 29, 2015

14ymedio, Havana, 28 July 2015 — Experts have just confirmed what
peasants in Las Tunas Province already knew due to the declining yields
of their harvests and the degradation of their land. Eighty percent of
the province's arable land has already eroded, and another 28% is facing
desertification. According to reports appearing in the official Cuban
press on July 28th, this problem is a result of "changes in rain
patterns, and inadequate management of the province's farmable lands."

Specialists from this eastern Cuban province's Communist Party
Agricultural Affairs Committee estimate that 445,000 acres of previously
fertile land are now ruined, accounting for 11.67% of the of the
island's deserts. According to the report, climate change combined with
a growth in farming in the so-called "vulnerable zones" will only
exacerbate and spread the environmental damage.

Top and subsoil erosion, poor drainage, salinization, and compaction are
among the negative results of soil degradation. Consequently, the
region's agricultural output has dropped significantly.

The government experts stress that uncontrolled forest fires, the
burning of harvest leftovers, the absence of crop rotation,
deforestation, and the excessive use of machinery are some of this
situation's other causes. Las Tunas Province has a naturally dry
climate, from where it takes name.* Nevertheless, this reality has only
been worsened by the current predicament.

The loss of arable land is worse on the northern border with Camagüey
Province. According to Amado Luis Palma, an expert from the Ministry of
Science, Technology and the Environment, "(northern) Las Tunas Province
is beginning to resemble Cuba's only semi-arid region, the desert
corridor between Caimanera and Maisí, in Guantánamo Province."

*Translator's note: "Tunas" are a type of native Cuban cactus that grows
wild in the province.

Translated by José Badué

Source: Eighty Percent of Las Tunas Province Is Facing Soil Erosion /
14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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