Conservation of Soil and Forests

Soil and the forests are our natural inheritance. Soil is the farmer’s legacy, and forests are our natural inheritance. Any harm to the soil and forests means a loss to the crops, to a farmer, and overall it is a loss to the nation. Therefore, it is essential to prevent soil erosion and soil pollution. Protecting forests and saving them from being destroyed is our responsibility.

In this chapter, let us learn more in detail about soil erosion, soil pollution, its causes, and different measures to be followed to prevent and protect our natural inheritance.

What is Soil erosion?

Removing topsoil from its original position to another place is called soil erosion. Soil erosion is a natural process caused by strong winds and fast running waters.

Ways to Prevent Soil erosion

Topsoil is precious and fertile for crops. This is the farmer’s legacy. Therefore, we must protect this legacy by preventing soil erosion.

To prevent the losses caused by soil erosion, there need to be effective methods of preventing it. Soil conservation is one of these methods. Some ways of soil conservation are:

  • By making Boundaries

This method is also called dolbandi. In this method of soil conservation, a high wall surrounding all four sides of the fields are made to prevent the fertile topsoil and manure from draining away.

  • By making an Embankment

In this method of soil conservation, barriers or embankments are made on sloped farms to prevent soil erosion. There should be an outlet in this method to discharge the water.

  • Terrace Farming

In this method of soil conservation, there are several terraces, each with a higher level than the one before it, to reach the top, to stop erosion. Terrace farming is practised where the water flows rapidly in the farms on steep slopes, and therefore soil erosion is quick.

  • Conservation of Forests

Forests and jungles significantly reduce land erosion. The cutting and uprooting of trees increases soil erosion and destroys the habitat for flora and fauna. Therefore, we must protect our forests by sowing grass, shrubs and trees in vacant land. By planting more trees, the roots of the vegetation hold the soil, and it is not swept away by water or wind.

  • Construction of Check-dam on Rivers and Drainages

Constructing check dams on rivers and drainages helps in reducing the

flow of water, and thereby reduces soil erosion. Check dams should have provisions for the water to flow out. Therefore, water can flow out gradually, and the soil will deposit in the surrounding areas.

  • Make arrangements for drainage of water.

In farms, water cannot be retained for a long time, which is dangerous as it results in the land becoming saline. Therefore, there should be proper methods for the drainage of water.

What is Soil Pollution?

Contaminating soil with harmful chemicals and poisonous substances is called soil pollution. The leading causes of soil pollution are polythene, glass, iron and toxic waste. Due to soil pollution, the soil weakens, affects its fertility, and causes damage to the soil.

How to Prevent Soil Pollution?

Soil pollution can be prevented by the following methods:

  • We should not throw harmful garbage in the soil or on farms.
  • We should not allow poisonous and harmful waste to flow into rivers and drains.
  • To protect the crops from pests, avoid chemical pesticides and use an organic treatment like sprinkling medicines made from cow-dung, cow-urine, neem, tulsi, etc.
  • The use of chemical fertilizers is lethal for the soil. Therefore, we must use organic manure as much as possible.

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