What is soil conservation?
Soil Conservation is a combination of practices used to protect the soil from degradation. First and foremost, soil conservation involves treating the soil as a living ecosystem. This means returning organic matter to the soil on a continual basis. (www.johnstonnc.com)
The soil is the medium for plant growth, a very important resource for food production and a habitat for organisms that live in the soil and aids the structure of the soil for food production.
Degradation of the soil means the destruction of the main medium for food production leading to imminent food shortages.
Ways to conserve the soil for food production.
1. Practice no-till on farms.
The practice allows crops residue to remain on the soil rather than being ploughed under. When the surface is covered with organic matter, it stands a very low risk of being eroded by rain or the wind. By this way, the soil still holds nutrients for plants growth.
Not disturbing the soil also, improves activities of beneficial soil organisms.
2. Grow cover crops
Cover cropping also has an advantage of protecting the surface of the soil from erosion and enhancing activities of soil organisms. Leguminous cover crops have an added advantage of improving the nutrients content of the soil.
3. Use terrace farming.
Cropping along steep surfaces requires the creation of terraces along the slope. The terraces slow water movement through the series of terraces and prevent it from washing away the soil.
4. Practise contour farming.
Contour is similar to terrace farming but on a smaller scale. In this practice, crops are planted following the contour of the landscape. Crops planted along the slope creates pathways for water to flow but when crops are grown against the slope of the landscape, they slow the flow of water and prevents soil erosion.