Land development & its impacts

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FAHEEM AYUB QAZI

In simple words, land is the solid part of the surface of the earth. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculture, habitat and various natural resources. Areas where land meets large bodies of water are called costal zones.
Land development is altering the landscape in any number of ways like changing land forms from a natural or semi-natural state for a purpose like agriculture or housing. Subdividing real estate into lots, typically for building homes. We can all agree that land development is essential for a community’s success. It can generate more jobs, being desired curb appeal, unite community members and maintain or increase home values. Whether, the development is residential or commercial, construction brings economic stability. In urban context, land development includes road construction, landscaping, setup of fences, drainage, canals etc.
As we know that, everything has good benefits but at the same time it has also bad impacts.
Land is one of three major factors of production in classical economic’s(along with labour and capital) and an essential input for housing and good production. Thus, land use is backbone of agricultural economic’s and it provides substantial economic and social benefits. Land use change is necessary and essential for economic development and social progress. Conversion of farmland and forests to urban development reduces amount of land available for food and timber production. Soil erosion, salinisation, desertification and other soil degradations associated with intensive agriculture and deforestation reduce quality of land resources and future agricultural productivity. Urbanisation presents many challenges for farmers on the urban fringe. Conflicts with non-farm neighbours and vandalism, such as destruction of crops and damage to farm equipments, are major concerns of farmers at the urban-fringe. Urbanisation also cause the ‘impermanence syndrome’, (i.e., a lack of confidence in the stability and long run profitability of farming), leading to reduction in investment in new technology or machinery, or idling of farmland. Urbanisation has changed rural communities at many places. In some rural areas, urban sprawl has encroached to such an extent that the community itself has been lost. In other areas, the lack of opportunities has turned once viable communities into ghost towns. Urban sprawl intensifies income segregation and economic disparities between urban and suburban communities. Cities tend to gain lower-income residents and lose upper-income population. Between 1969 and 1998, the share of low-income families in central cities grew from 21.9% to 25.5%, compared with decline from 18.3% to 16.6% for high-income households. The change in income led to a smaller tax base and the need for more social services in urban communities. Sub-urbanisation brings urban and rural people and problems together. Most land areas are rural, most watersheds are in rural places, and most of atmosphere exists above rural space. Urbanities and agencies have legitimate concerns about use and condition of rural natural resources, just as rural populations have legitimate concern about urban based pressures on the natural environment have important economic, social and political implications, which may profoundly impact society in future. In response to increasing urbanisation, many local governments have imposed strict land use control. Some of the efforts have been quite successful in slowing down development.
Land use change is arguably the most pervasive socio-economic force during changes and degradation of ecosystems. Deforestation, urban-development, agriculture and other human activities have substantially altered earths landscape. Such disturbance of land affects important ecosystem processes and services, which can have wide ranging and long term consequences. Farmland provides open space and valuable habitat for many wildlife species. However, intensive agriculture has potentially severe ecosystem consequences. Runoff from agricultural lands is a leading source of water pollution, both in inland and costal waters. Conversions of wetlands to crop production and irrigation water diversions have bought many wildlife species to the verge of extinction. Forests provide many ecosystem services and these important ecosystem services will be reduced or destroyed when forests are converted to agriculture or for urban development. Such disturbance in area can change the global atmospheric concentration of carbon-dioxide, the principal heat trapping gas, as well as effect local, regional and global climate by changing the energy balance on earth’s surface. Urban development has been linked to many environmental problems, including air pollution, water pollution and loss of wildlife habitat.
Habitat destruction, fragmentation and alteration associated with urban development has been identified as leading causes of biodiversity decline and species extinction. Urban development and intensive agriculture in costal areas and further inland are a major threat to the health, productivity and biodiversity of marine environment.
It also plays an important role in climate change, which can destroy the whole earth.

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