Abandoned Farmland Often Is Troubled Land in Need of Restoration
Land plowed, fertilized, and irrigated obviously is useful land, with purpose and value. No longer farmed and lying fallow, that same land may be barren or grow only sparse, weedy vegetation in dry and infertile soils. Called abandoned or derelict farmland, this land often is an environmental liability, in need of remedy. Abandoned farmland has experienced at least two changeovers, first when its natural vegetation was removed to create farmland, then again when agricultural crops no longer were cultivated. Now a land in between, abandoned farmland is neither wilderness nor cultivated, and often is in need of restoration and recovery to some semblance of natural conditions, frequently through human intervention. Possibly already feeling maligned by environmental and urban critics, some agricultural interests may view the abandoned farmland issue as another example of 'ag bashing.' Properly understood, however, abandoned farmland is part of a larger issue of reclaiming environmentally damaged land. Development and urbanization, overgrazing, mining, and road and canal construction share blame for disturbing large areas of land within the state.