The natural environment consists of fauna and flora in general. These include the trees, vegetation cover and rivers. On the whole, Bongo District falls within the Guinea Savannah ecological zone.Impact of Human Activities on the Environment
In the past decades, there has been an increase in the amount and intensity of agricultural and other socio-economic activities involving the exploitation of natural resources. This, by its very nature, results in the degradation of the environment. The end result has been to create an adverse effect on the balance between man and nature.
This is also creating an imbalance in natural cycles in the biosphere. Inappropriate farming practices, for instance, have led to increased deterioration in both the vegetation and soils. Intensive faming, overgrazing and constant removal of trees and shrubs without adequate replacement have given way for desert-like conditions in many parts of the district. Owing to increased population growth, there is great pressure on land and water resources. Another practice that is raring its ugly head in the District is farming along river beds, banks of dams and dug-outs thus causing siltation of water bodies in the District.
Wildlife has become threatened as vulnerable tree species die off. These, and many other features, are a manifestation of land degradation, which is a major environmental problem in the district. Land degradation, exhibits itself in three interactive forms: physical, chemical, and biological.
Apart from inappropriate farming practices, land degradation can be attributed to the following factors: high population density, over stocking and overgrazing, bush burning, tree felling, land excavation for road and building construction.
Land degradation is also manifested in soil erosion and loss of organic matter, poor animal production due to reduction in available fodder, siltation of water bodies and loss of aquatic life, trekking long distances to obtain fuel wood by women and increasing intensity and duration of drought.
The over dependence of people on fuel wood and charcoal for both domestic and public use has affected the environment greatly. The few trees available in the district are felled for fuel wood and charcoal for cooking in homes and chop bars.Soil Erosion
Soil erosion is a major problem in many localities, leading to land degradation. The three forms of erosion experienced in the district are sheet erosion, gully erosion and rill erosion. The long dry season exposes soils to excessive run off at the beginning of the rains. In addition, the low organic matter content of the soils renders the latter liable to sheet erosion.
Gully erosion has affected many river banks as well as roadsides. Gullies of over 3 metres deep and over 4 metres wide are not uncommon. Many of the river banks in the district portray this feature. Rill erosion is Common near the head waters of rivers and streams, where erosion takes place in small, undefined non-permanent excavation, bush burning, removal of vegetation cover, inappropriate farming practices, etc stretches of land bearing scars of excavation can be seen along the major feeder roads in the district.
This situation has grave consequences for the district if not addressed properly. The desert is fast approaching the district considering the enormous felling of trees in the localities. The water bodies are dying out coupled with severe soil erosion. This situation has also escalated the already precarious food shortage in the District.
The district will have to intensify its education on the need to protect the environment especially by planting trees in the localities. The introduction of alternative energy sources could go a long way to curb the intensive felling of trees for fuel wood and charcoal in the District. The intensification of education on the need to adopt modern farming practices is very critical in the district to ensure that the environment is protected.
- Land degradation/Soil Erosion
- Declining soil fertility
- Reduction in Land Carrying Capacity