WHAT IS SOIL CONSERVATION?
Soil conservation is the implementation of farming practices and techniques that protect soil against deterioration. We can prevent soil erosion and improve soil fertility through soil conservation.
TYPES OF SOIL CONSERVATION
Soil conservation aims to keep the soil healthy through the use of effective farming methods that can help preserve soil. (Research from Maryville University)
- This farming method uses terraces that are built into a hilly area. It is mostly used when you want to grow crops on the side of a hill.
- Because the terraces are different heights, the nutrients in the topsoil can’t be washed away very quickly.
- Terrace farming can help keep soil from eroding, which can lead to more productivity. Terrace farming is a way for farmers to build water collection systems on their farms.
- This farming method has been used in places where rice is grown. It is very good at improving the soil’s moisture level.
- If you have a lot of bare soil, raindrops will fall on it. Cover cropping can help stop splash erosion.
- Cover crops can be grown between the main crops. They can give crops the nutrients they need. Most cover crops make the soil more nitrogen-rich.
- This farming method can also make the soil more able to hold water. As a result, they give soil microbes the right conditions, which improves soil fertility.
- This also means that farmers can use cover crops as animal feed after they are harvested.
- No-till farming is all about protecting the soil from being disturbed. Tilling can have a number of effects on the soil. It can cause water to be lost and also destroy plant cover.
- Tillage that goes on for a long time can make the land look very dry and empty. This can cause soil to be lost and nutrients to be lost.
- People who grow crops can help save soil by planting seeds in the crop residue. This will not only cut down on the cost of framing but also keep the soil structure.
- No-till farming also stops runoffs. There won’t be any soil nutrients lost when it rains, so that won’t happen.
- Crop rotation is a farming method that lets you grow a lot of different crops on the same piece of land at different times of the year. If you want to improve the soil, for example, you can plant leguminous plants like beans and corn together in a row.
- Each year, crops can be rotated so that they don’t need to use fertilizers and other farm chemicals.
- It takes a lot of planning to use this soil conservation method. To get the best results, farmers need to pick the right plants to rotate with.
- Because different crops need different nutrients, the soil will not be overused
- It is made of trees, grasses, or shrubs that grow along the edges of land that is used for farming.
- Strips can help improve the structure of the soil. Also, buffer strips can help slow down surface runoffs.
- The roots of buffer strips hold soil particles together and can keep them from moving when it rains.
- Buffer strips can also stop wind erosion by protecting the land from the wind.
- If you want to make your land look better, you can terrace it, but contour farming doesn’t change the shape of the slope.
- This type of farming asks farmers to make a lot of rows of soil along the contour. When there is a lot of rain, rainwater won’t be able to flow downhill.
- Contour farming helps protect the soil from possible erosion and other types of soil damage.
- Runoffs are less likely to happen in landscapes that are shaped. Soil nutrients will be kept as long as possible by this method.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOIL CONSERVATION
Soil conservation plays an important role in improving the soil. It is not only good for the soil but also the environment (research from EOS):
Improves Soil Quality
-Soil conservation improves the structure of the soil, which makes the soil better for us to live on.
-Well-maintained soils tend to be more fertile, which means more crops and lower farming costs.
Reduce Soil Erosion
-The farming methods used in soil conservation can help stop soil from being washed away.
-Most of these things give the soil more protection from wind and water.
Improves Water Infiltration
-It can hold more water when the soil is good at filtering, so it can hold more water. The crops will have everything they need to stay healthy.
-As long as there is good filtration, soil microbes like wet conditions. This means that the soil will be more fertile when there is good drainage.
Provides Animals with Food and Shelter
-When we take care of the soil, we can grow more plants that animals like to eat. A lot of livestock can get food from cover crops. Animals can also hide from the sun under vegetation cover.
Preserves Organic Matter
-If you keep your soil healthy, you could have a lot more organic matter in your soil. Organic matter can help soil hold more water. Also, adding organic matter to the soil can improve the structure of the soil.
THREATS TO SOIL CONSERVATION
The main threat to soil conservation is poor farming practices. (Research source: Science Direct)
- Overcropping can happen when a lot of tillage takes a toll on the land. When the same types of crops are grown on the same piece of land over and over again, it can make the soil less healthy.
- This farming method can also lead to the loss of nutrients in the soil.
Overuse of Fertilizers and Other Farm Chemicals
- Farm chemicals can damage the soil. When herbicides and pesticides are used over and over again, they can get into the soil.
- Too much fertilizer in the soil can change the soil’s pH. This can make the soil less acidic. This can kill soil microorganisms and plants, and it can also hurt them.
Slash-and-Burn Farming Practices
- slash-and-burn is a way to remove vegetation cover from a piece of land by cutting it down and setting it on fire. This can be done when the land is ready for tillage.
- It can eat away at the soil’s hummus and make it dry out as well.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOIL CONSERVATION
Certain soil conservation practices may cause problems during or after planting crops:
- Using the no-till farming method can make it a little more difficult to plant because the seeds won’t fall on the soil all the time. This can make it more difficult. This can stop the seeds from growing.
- It can cost more to grow food if herbicides are used instead of tillage to get rid of plants.
- Terracing and contour farming is both very hard and time-consuming.
SOIL CONSERVATION IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
There are a lot of ways that soil conservation can help the world around us. As a first step, it improves the health of the soil and lets plants grow. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air, which helps to slow down global warming.
Animal and plant communities do well in places where the soil is rich. Soil conservation protects plant diversity and also gives animals food and shelter, which is good for them. Most environmental problems can be solved if we keep our soils safe.
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