Soil erosion, though a natural process, has had a devastating impact on the earth. In a majority of cases, the process has been speeded up by human activity. It impacts the growth of crops, vegetation, and plants as the soil no longer contains enough nutrients to assist a healthy growth.
Having examined the gravity of the situation, it is evident that a collective effort is needed to be made towards the prevention of soil erosion.
Soil erosion is basically the shifting of soil particles due to rain, wind, floods, and melting ice. We as individuals can do very little to extend soil erosion control when it is caused by nature. A significant amount of soil erodes because of rivers during floods or because of storms, droughts, and melting ice.
However, this kind of erosion can only be tackled at the national level. Humans contribute to the process of erosion by cutting down forests, undergrowth, and excessive watering of gardens or surrounding areas.
Since we have no control over the wind or rain, we can concentrate on one simple aspect which is to increase plant life around us which holds top soil in its place.
Solutions to Overcome Erosion of Soil
Take up gardening as a hobby and get in touch with nature. The grass and trees you plant or even the fences you put up will prevent heavy rain from beating down on your land and keep the top soil in place. It will also prevent the soil from drying up and getting blown or washed away.
Often used by farmers, but can be adapted by gardeners as well. It is simply leaving some vegetation on the ground instead of stripping the entire area bare. It involves planting a short hedge around each plot of flowers/vegetable patches or even leaving a strip of grass between every few beds of flowers/vegetables. This will help you keep the soil in check.
Keep Soil Healthy
This is an important step to prevent washing away of soil. Use fertilizers, manure, or compost regularly. Soil thus treated becomes rich in organic matter, binds together, and is less prone to being washed or blow away.
Plant Wind Breakers
In areas prone to gusty winds, plant wind breakers in the form of trees, hedges, and bushes, or even put up a wooden/plastic fence.
If you happen to be living in the hills, this method is very useful in preventing soil erosion by slowing down the flow of water down the slopes. It is done by following the natural contours of the land while planting.
Avoid Leaving Land Barren
On land that is not in use one should plant a 'cover crop'. This helps your land in two ways; to begin with, it prevents soil erosion and also provides nutrients for the land in the form of nitrogen fixers if certain cover crops are used.
One of the commonly used products in soil conservation is 'matting'. Ready-made matting made of wood fiber is commonly used in household vegetable gardens and vacant plots. The matting which is placed on top of the soil prevents it's erosion while at the same time, it allows plants and trees to grow through it.
Use of Retaining Walls
Very useful in areas where rains are heavy and water erosion affects the soil. One can prevent it by constructing small retaining walls around your vegetable plots. You can use bricks and mortar or even pack in heaped soil in rows.
Use of Mulch/Fertilizer
Another useful method is applying a layer of mulch and fertilizer over the soil. This prevents the rain from beating down hard directly on the soil. At the same time, water slowly soaks through the soil and enriches it. The mulch and fertilizer layer helps the soil to regain its pH levels.
Avoid Excess Watering
While it is important to keep the soil moist which at times may be difficult, like in summers, avoid over-watering as this washes away the topsoil and degrades the land.
The threat of global warming and pollution have given a lot of importance to 'green cover'. It is the duty of everyone of us to put all our efforts towards soil erosion prevention. This will help prevent the degradation of the earth, and in the process, maintain and preserve our environment.
Disclaimer: The given content is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.