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SOIL

CONSERVATION

SOIL EROSION
Soil erosion is defined as the removal of
topsoil faster than the soil forming processes
can replace it, due to natural, animal, and
human activity (over grazing, over
cultivation, forest clearing, mechanized
farming, etc.).
Soil erosion results in land infertility and
leads to desertification and devastating
flooding.
It is estimated that 20 percent of the world's
topsoil was lost during 1950-1990, and its
loss is continuing at a faster rate.

SOIL CONSERVATION
Soil conservation is the prevention
of soil loss from erosion or reduced
fertility caused by over usage,
acidification, salinization or other
chemical soil contamination.

Practical methods of soil


conservation are grouped as follows:
Biological measures
Agronomic practices;
Agrostological methods;
Dry farming practices.
Mechanical or Engineering methods.

Basin leaching
Sub-soiling
Contour terracing
Gully control
Stream bank protection

AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
The important agricultural practices
which contribute to the conservation and
productivity of cultivated lands are
referred to as conservation farmings or
advanced agronomical methods.
Contour farming
Crop rotation, sowing of leguminous
crops and mixed cropping
Mulching
Strip cropping

AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
Contour farming
the farming practice of ploughing across a
slope following its elevation contour lines.
The rows form slow water run-off during
rainstorms to prevent soil erosion and allow
the water time to settle into the soil.
Crop rotation
the practice of growing a series of dissimilar
or different types of crops in the same area
in sequenced seasons.It is done so that the
soil of farms is not used to only one type of
nutrient. It helps in reducing soil erosion
and increases soil fertility and crop yield.

AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
Mulching
It means covering the soil surface by straw,
leaves or grasses. Mulches of different kinds
check soil erosion, increase soil fertility and
also minimize moisture evaporation from
the top soils.
Strip cropping
Strip cropping is a method of farming which
involves cultivating a field partitioned into
long, narrow strips which are alternated in
a crop rotation system. It is used when a
slope is too steep or when there is no
alternative method of preventing soil
erosion.

AGROSTOLOGICAL
METHODS
Grasses are helpful in control of soil erosion,
hence they are used as erosion-resisting plants.
Grasses are grown in strips between the crops.
Agrostological measures include:
Lay farming: This aim to grow grasses in
rotation with field crops, which helps in
building up the structure of soil and
improving its fertility.
Retiring lands to grasses: It involves to
grow grasses on such lands where major
proportion of the top soil has been eroded.
Generally grasses are allowed to grazing
under suitable climate conditions.

DRY FARMING
This practice is useful for croplands
grown in low and moderate rainfall areas,
where ordinary farming is at risk. Crop
production, animal husbandry and
growing grazing fields are the only
possibilities of checking erosion. Some of
them are land fallowing, strip-cropping,
crop rotation etc.

Mechanical or Engineering Methods.


Basin listing
It is constructing of small basin along the
contours to retain water which also reduces its
velocity. It is especially effective on retentive
soils having mild slopes.
Sub-soiling
This method consists in breaking with a
subsoiler the hard and impermeable subsoil to
conserve more rain-water by improving the
physical condition of a soil. This operation
promotes greater moisture penetration into the
soil, reduces both run-off and soil erosion.

Mechanical or Engineering Methods.


Contour terracing
It is constructing a channel along the slope to
intercept or direct the run off water. This may
be:
a. Channel terrace: to dig channels at suitable
intervals and the excavated soil deposited as
a wide, low ridge along the lower edge of the
channel.
b. Broad based ridge terrace: to construct ridge
along both the sides of the channel; and
c. Bench terrace: to construct a number of
platforms along contours or suitable graded
lines across the slope.

Mechanical or Engineering Methods.


Gully control
To check the formation or widening of
gullies by constructing bunds, dams, drains
or diversions through which excess run off
water is channeled.
Stream bank protection
To grow vegetation alongside the river
bank, to construct drains, concrete or stone
pitching etc. For checking the cutting and
caving of river banks.