Soil Erosion is the removal of topsoil through the action of various agents such as water, wind, animals and human activities. It is a natural process and is responsible for shaping the landscapes around us. Yet, when removal of topsoil is faster than its natural rate of formation it can raise severe concerns. Anthropogenic activities such as over grazing, deforestation, mechanized agriculture, overgrazing, etc. can aggravate this problem. It can make fertile lands barren. It can even lead to desertification, acidification of land, land contamination and even floods.
It is a very serious problem. Today we are facing major environmental problems such as Global warming, Climate Change, Ecological Imbalance, Extinction of Species, etc. It is time that we take steps to prevent this problem otherwise it can also lead to severe consequences. The best way to tackle this problem is through soil conservation.
Soil conservation can be achieved through various ways. Such as:
Plant Vegetation: You can grow herbs, shrubs, bushes and trees to deal with this problem effectively. You can grow indigenous plants that can survive easily in your area. You can even opt for exotic plants after identifying their needs for survival. The roots of herbs, shrubs, bushes and trees hold soil and negate the eroding effects of wind and water. They also help in increasing the fertility of the soil. Besides, they provide shelter to insects, birds and animal. Hence help in preserving the ecological balance.
Planting Wind-Barriers: You can plant trees on the windward side of your land. High winds are one of the most prominent causes that lead to erosion of soil. Wind-barriers can counter the effect of high winds and help in soil conservation. Apart from trees you can even use shrubs, bushes or plastic fences as wind-barriers.
Lay Mulch: You can lay mulch to conserve soil. It prevents the direct exposure of top soil to agents of erosion. It also helps in keeping the soil damp and moist. You can also use organic mulch that can be made from plant remains and animal faeces. Using Mulch offers three benefits. Firstly, it maintains optimum moisture level in the soil. Secondly, it protects the topsoil from the direct attack of eroding agents. Thirdly, It helps in maintaining optimum soil temperature.
Conservation Tillage: You can use conservation tillage in your agricultural farms and gardens. This can be done by using plants or plant parts as boundary or cover for soil. You can use grass or plants such as rye or clover. They help by covering the surface of the soil and thus preventing erosion. Conservation tillage also helps in improving the physical and biological quality of soil.
Contour Farming: It is the best way for conserving soil in hilly areas. In this method, the plants are grown on slopes in order to minimize the effect of water, wind and other forces of erosion.
Sediment Control: You can practice sediment control by building diversion dikes, sediment bases, sediment traps, and silt fences. These structures can save the soil from erosion.
You can practice any of the above methods depending on your requirements.