Soil is one of the most important natural resources, which sustains different types of lives directly or indirectly. Soil forming is a slow natural process. The methods of soil conservation in different parts of the world are as under:
Protection of forests
Since roots of the trees hold the soil material together, it is very important to protect these trees from such felling.
This has led governments to declare forests as reserved in which felling of trees has been banned.
This method of soil conservation is most suited to all types of landscapes.
Forests increases the process of soil formation.
Planting of trees along river courses, waste lands and mountainous slopes is another method of soil conservation.
It reduces excessive erosion taking place in these regions.
Afforestation is also effective in controlling wind erosion along the desert regions.
Tree plantation along desert boundary stops swallowing of agriculture land by desert sands.
In our country large scale planting of trees is being carried out in Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab to control the extension of Thar Desert.
During rainy season, the amount of water in rivers increases exceedingly which in turn increases soil erosion.
Dams are being constructed to control floods and consequently the soil erosion.
This can also be done by diverting river water to dry regions through canals and by other well planned methods of water conservation.
Over grazing on hill slopes has helped loosening and washing away of soils in these areas.
If grazing is carried out in a planned way it will reduce soil erosion by protecting vegetation cover in these areas which are comparatively more prone to soil erosion.
Construction of bunds or obstruction is applied in lands affected by gully erosion.
This method is not only helpful in controlling soil erosion but also in maintaining soil fertility, conserving water resources and levelling of sloping lands.
To conserve poorly developed thin soils on mountain slopes, terracing is another method.
Terracing refers to the construction of terraces across the slope in a mountainous region.
This helps in controlling soil erosion and using water resources of these areas economically and effectively for growing different crops on these terraces.
This method of soil conservation is most suited to areas having rolling landscape.
Ploughing and tilling of land along the contour levels in order to cause furrows to run across the land slope reduces the rate of soil erosion.
This method is also applied to maintain the fertility and soil moisture.
Adoption of Strip Farming
This method is most suited in rolling plains and regions situated in arid and semiarid regions.
Field is divided into strips and the fanning in one year is done on one strip while the other strip is left uncultivated.
The grassy vegetation cover of the left strip controls soil erosion and maintains fertility of soils.
Next year, the process is reversed.
Crop rotation refers to a systematic succession of different crops cultivated in a given piece of land in order to avoid exhaustion of the soil.
Thus, rotation of crops is applied to conserve the fertility of soil from over cultivation of growing continuous crops from where population pressure is more on limited agricultural lands.
This method is applied in most of the countries of the world.
Reclamation of Lands
Soil erosion is also being controlled by leveling lands gullied down by water channels and converted in to waste lands or ravines.
This methods of soil conservation is most suited in river basins and hilly terrains.
Vast areas have been leveled in Chambal and Yamuna ravines, in our country.