Need for Soil Conservation and Types of Soil Erosion
The basic requirements of any human being are food, shelter and clothing. All these three items are related to soil in one way or the other. Soil conservation thus plays a very important role in preventing erosion of soil. Some practical methods of soil conservation and the management of soil erosion are discussed herein.
Soil is a precious gift of nature. It is a mixture of rocks, minerals, and the decayed matter of plants and animals. The solid soil particles are interspersed with air and water. It takes a long time to form a small layer of soil- say as long as a thousand years per inch. The formation of soil is due to physical weathering and chemical weathering.
All resources such as soil, water, forests, minerals, etc. need proper and efficient use. Soil is directly related to the health of an individual and indirectly to the health of a nation. The fertility of soils can be improved, but the building up of soil takes a very long time.
Experience and observations have shown that crops from poorly managed soils do not possess the same nutritive value as those obtained from land in which sufficient quantity of minerals are available.
Agriculture had its beginning minimum 7000 years ago and developed in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia and the valley of the Nile. The irrigation canals in Babylon were filled with silt resulting in once irrigated lands turning into dry lands and finally caused the ruin of the country itself.
Erosion is the detachment and transportation of soil. The main agent for transportation is running water. To a certain extent wind, sea waves, and moving ice may also cause erosion.
Soil erosion may be "natural" or "accelerated." The heat of the sun, rain drops, wind blasts, the roots of the plants and trees- all are acting upon the crust of the earth resulting in physical, chemical, and biological changes. This natural process has been going on for as long as the world has existed. When man appeared on the scene and started abusing nature, the situation changed. He started to fell trees, cut grasses, and rip up the land for cultivation, all to meet his daily needs. This detachment and transportation of soil is called accelerated soil erosion. It is entirely a man-made condition.